Flake: McCain's voice was 'never more important' than in Trump era

Flake: McCain's voice was 'never more important' than in Trump era
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said that the United States “certainly needed John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain to produce 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE’s voice over the past year” when asked whether President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE being in the White House would make the loss of McCain more difficult.

Host Jake Tapper noted on CNN’s “State of the Union” that McCain didn’t invite Trump to his funeral and that the president once mocked McCain, who died from brain cancer at the age of 81, for being captured during the Vietnam War. Tapper asked Flake if Trump’s presence in the White House would make McCain “all the more missed.”

“We’ve certainly needed John McCain’s voice over the past year and despite the circumstances, we’ve had it,” Flake responded. “And I think we could do with this kind of approach to politics and we’d do well to remember John McCain and his legacy as we go forward. I know that’s what he would like.”

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Flake also referenced a conversation he had with McCain in February, when McCain “expressed optimism” about the future of the country’s leadership, according to Flake.

“He expressed optimism at that time that leaders would rise to the fore in the future who would put the good of the country above themselves,” Flake said. “So I think we ought to take that forward.”

McCain, who served in the Senate since 1987 and twice made bids for the presidency, died Saturday. His family announced Friday that he had chosen to discontinue treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Trump has criticized McCain since his time on the campaign trail, when he said McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured during the Vietnam War.

“I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said.

Flake, a frequent critic of Trump, announced last year that he would not seek reelection to the Senate.