Pence: ‘John McCain served his country honorably’

Pence: ‘John McCain served his country honorably’
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Vice President Pence spoke at the Capitol on Friday, where the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Where are good faith and integrity? GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE (R-Ariz.) is lying in state.

“The president asked me to be here on behalf of a grateful nation to pay a debt of honor and respect to a man who served our country throughout his life, in uniform and in public office,” said Pence, who was representing President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE, who was not in attendance.

“As President Trump said yesterday, we respect his service to the country,” he added. 

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Before his death, McCain requested Trump not attend his funeral. The two had a combative relationship, with Trump often publicly criticizing McCain and McCain frequently opposing Trump's policies.

Pence praised McCain’s service during the Vietnam War, during which he was captured and tortured after refusing early release.

“Americans marveled at the iron will of John McCain. But captivity did not diminish John’s sense of calling, or his commitment to mission,” he said.

After serving in the Navy, McCain represented Arizona in Congress, first in the House, from 1983 to 1987, and later in the Senate, beginning in 1987.

“In every generation, there are those who put country first, who prize service ahead of self, who summon idealism from a cynical age,” Pence added.

McCain died Saturday after being diagnosed last year with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He is survived by his mother, wife and seven children. He was 81 years old.