O'Rourke holds moment of silence after McCain's death

Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) held a moment of silence for Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate Armed Services chair not convinced of need for Trump's Space Force Jenny McCarthy: ‘The View’ producers asked me to ‘act Republican’ Flake warns in farewell speech: US political climate 'is not healthy' MORE during a town hall meeting on Saturday night, hours after the Arizona Republican died at the age of 81.

O’Rourke asked a crowd in Dallas to pause and “send whatever you can” emotionally toward the McCain family as they grieved over the loss of the Senate giant.

The Texas Democrat praised McCain as someone who “really defines service and sacrifice and character and integrity.”

Whether you agreed with his politics or not, McCain should be remembered as an American hero, O’Rourke argued. 

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“There are decisions that he’s made —  votes that he’s cast that you may or may not agree with — but at the end of the day, before he was a Republican and you were a Democrat, before he was a Republican and you were an independent, before either of us cared about party, he was an American and he was a hero,” O’Rourke said.

“And we should remember him that way,” he added. 

O’Rourke also praised McCain for a moment during the 2008 presidential campaign — where he was the Republican nominee — that went viral on Saturday night after his death.

McCain shut down a woman who pushed a racist conspiracy theory against Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaA sea change for sexual conduct on campus Anti-wall is not a border policy: How Democrats can sell an immigration plan Obama receives Robert F. Kennedy human rights award MORE, who was then a Democratic senator from Illinois.

“I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he’s not, um, he’s an Arab,” a woman said to McCain at a town hall meeting in Lakeville, Minn., in October 2008.

McCain then grabbed the microphone and cut the woman off.

“No, ma’m,” he said. “He’s a decent family man [and] citizen that just I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what the campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].”

O’Rourke said that McCain could have “seized” that opportunity for his political advantage, since America was overrun with "anxiety," "fear" and "paranoia." 

But he instead defended his opponent.

Incumbent Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO’Rourke rockets to second place on CNN analysts' 2020 Dem rankings, Harris remains first Senators prepare for possibility of Christmas in Washington during a shutdown Biden to discuss 2020 bid with family over holidays: report MORE (R-Texas) is four points ahead of O’Rourke among registered voters, according to an NBC News/Marist poll released Wednesday.

Cruz also praised McCain on Saturday night, writing that the state of Arizona and the nation “lost a great public servant.”

“Although he and I sometimes disagreed, I was deeply privileged to serve with him and call him a friend.”

McCain, a Vietnam War veteran, died one day after his family announced that he would be discontinuing medical treatment for brain cancer, stating that the “progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age [had] render[ed] “their verdict.”

McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma in July 2017.

He survived years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam before becoming a leading actor on the political stage for decades.