Bush: McCain could not stand 'bigots and swaggering despots'
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Former President George W. Bush praised Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard The Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Trump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote MORE's (R-Ariz.) disdain for authoritarian leaders on Saturday during a funeral service for the late senator at the Washington National Cathedral.

Bush told a crowd of various public figures and lawmakers that McCain, who died last week at the age of 81 from brain cancer, "detested the abuse of power" both at home and abroad.


"Above all, John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots," Bush said before recounting a story from McCain's days at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he will be buried Sunday.

"One friend from his Naval Academy days recalled how John, while a lowly plebe, reacted to seeing an upperclassman verbally abuse a steward. Against all tradition, he told the jerk to pick on someone his own size. It was a familiar refrain during his six decades of service," Bush said.

Bush continued in his eulogy, remembering McCain's honesty, even toward leaders in the White House, and his penchant for standing up for those without political power.

“There was something deep inside him that made him stand up for the little guy," Bush said. "He was honest no matter whom it offended. Presidents were not spared."

"He respected the dignity inherent in every life — a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators," the former president added.

Bush joined other top Republicans and Democrats, including former President Obama, on Saturday for McCain's memorial service alongside three former vice presidents.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE, who bitterly battled with McCain during the 2016 campaign and his first year in office, was not invited, though his daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpHard choices in training Americans for AI workplace of future Ex-Trump, progressive strategists battle over charges of anti-Semitism surrounding Eric Trump Ethics watchdog requests probe into Trump officials traveling to campaign events MORE and son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHouse panel signals Russia probe document dump before midterms Mueller investigating Russian payments made by Trump Tower meeting organizers: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE attended the service.