Trump praises Arizona governor's pick of Jon Kyl to succeed McCain

Trump praises Arizona governor's pick of Jon Kyl to succeed McCain
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Ayers decision casts harsh light on Trump NASA offers to show Stephen Curry evidence from moon landings Freedom Caucus calls on leadership to include wall funding, end to 'catch and release' in funding bill MORE on Tuesday praised Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's selection of fellow Republican and former Sen. Jon Kyl to succeed Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCohen’s pleas concocted by prosecutors to snare Trump Overnight Defense: Senate Armed Services chair eyes Russia, China threats | Pushes Trump not to cut defense budget | Mattis says US looking for more Khashoggi evidence Dem strategist says Trump should not have attended George H.W. Bush's funeral MORE (R-Ariz.) in the Senate, saying Kyl will be "an extraordinary Senator."

"Jon Kyl will be an extraordinary Senator representing an extraordinary state, Arizona," Trump tweeted. "I look forward to working with him!"

Kyl, who previously served in the Senate for 18 years before leaving in 2013, was tapped by Ducey earlier Tuesday to fill the vacant Arizona Senate seat ahead of 2020, when a special election will be held for a permanent successor to McCain.

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The former senator-turned GOP lobbyist said during a press conference with Ducey in Phoenix that he will serve in the Senate at least until the end of the current Congress in January.

Kyl has not committed to serving in 2019 and 2020, and he told reporters on Tuesday that he is not interested in running for the seat in 2020.

“I’m willing to serve certainly through the end of this session at least to make sure that the business that is currently ongoing is taken care of,” Kyl said. “But I don’t want to make a commitment beyond that.”

Kyl, 76, served alongside McCain in the Senate for nearly two decades and rose to the No. 2 position of Senate Republican whip. Kyl has most recently been acting as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s "sherpa" on Capitol Hill, helping guide him through the nomination process.

Trump long had a fraught relationship with McCain, who died late last month after a more than yearlong battle with brain cancer. The president was not invited to the GOP senator's funeral over the weekend, though his daughter Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpKushner: Trump will make chief of staff decision 'when he’s ready' McCarthy dismisses Dem-led Trump probes John Kelly was always doomed to fail as chief of staff MORE and son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerKushner: Trump will make chief of staff decision 'when he’s ready' Press: Mueller closes in on Trump Democratic House panel could investigate ties between Kushner, Saudi crown prince: report MORE attended, among other administration officials.