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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 FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said that the United States “certainly needed John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain planning 'intimate memoir' of life with John McCain Trump-McConnell rift divides GOP donors Arkansas state senator says he's leaving Republican Party MORE’s voice over the past year” when asked whether President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress 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.