Political world mourns John McCain

Political world mourns John McCain
© Getty Images

Colleagues and politicians on both sides of the aisle publicly mourned GOP Sen. 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 (Ariz.) Saturday, following the announcement of his death.

McCain, long seen as a giant of the Senate and a maverick within his party, was widely respected on and off Capitol Hill by lawmakers across the political spectrum.

McCain, 81, survived years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam before becoming a leading actor on the political stage for decades. 


He died Saturday after battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Perhaps his closest friend on the Hill, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin Graham19 House Democrats call on Capitol physician to mandate vaccines The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - Simone wins bronze with altered beam routine The job of shielding journalists is not finished MORE (R-S.C.), honored McCain minutes after the announcement of his death, tweeting, “America and Freedom have lost one of her greatest champions. ... And I’ve lost one of my dearest friends and mentor. I will need some time to absorb this, but I want Cindy —and the entire McCain family — to know they are in my prayers.”

President TrumpDonald TrumpMajority of Americans in new poll say it would be bad for the country if Trump ran in 2024 ,800 bottle of whiskey given to Pompeo by Japan is missing Liz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party MORE, though he has had a rocky relationship with the senator during his time in the White House, also sent his condolences to the McCain's family.

“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”  he tweeted.

Vice President Pence echoed Trump, saying, “Karen and I send our deepest condolences to Cindy and the entire McCain family on the passing of Senator John McCain. We honor his lifetime of service to this nation in our military and in public life. His family and friends will be in our prayers. God bless John McCain.”

All living presidents also honored the senator, touting McCain as a "patriot" and "man of honor." 

Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaBiden wishes Obama a happy birthday Simone Biles takes herself out of fifth Olympic event Michelle Obama to Simone Biles: 'We are proud of you and we are rooting for you' MORE released a statement saying, “Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did."

"But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family,” they wrote. 

Former President George W. Bush called McCain "a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order."

"Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order,” Bush wrote. 

Former President Clinton and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBriahna Joy Gray: Progressives like Turner should reconsider running as Democrats Biden wishes Obama a happy birthday Ohio special election: A good day for Democrats MORE also released a statement, calling McCain a "trusted colleague" who "lived by his creed every day."

“Senator John McCain believed that every citizen has a responsibility to make something of the freedoms given by our Constitution, and from his heroic service in the Navy to his 35 years in Congress, he lived by his creed every day. He was a skilled, tough politician, as well as a trusted colleague alongside whom Hillary was honored to serve in the Senate. He frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country, and was never afraid to break the mold if it was the right thing to do,” the Clintons wrote. 

Former President George H.W. Bush lauded McCain as a "patriot of the highest order" and "a public servant of rarest courage."

“John McCain was a patriot of the highest order, a public servant of rarest courage. Few sacrificed more for, or contributed more to, the welfare of his fellow citizens — and indeed freedom-loving peoples around the world," he wrote in a statement. "Another American maverick and warrior, General George Patton, once observed: ‘We should thank God that men such as these have lived.’ ”

Former President Carter also honored McCain, writing that he was a "man of honor."

“John McCain was a man of honor, a true patriot in the best sense of the word. Americans will be forever grateful for his heroic military service and his steadfast integrity as a member of the United States Senate," Carter wrote. "Rosalynn and I extend our sincere condolences to Senator McCain’s family and to the people of Arizona whom he represented so forthrightly for so many years.” 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden nominates Mark Brzezinski to be U.S. ambassador to Poland 10 dead after overloaded van crashes in south Texas Majority of New York state Assembly support beginning process to impeach Cuomo: AP MORE, a longtime colleague and friend of McCain's, praised the senator, saying that his "impact on America hasn't ended." McCain died after battling the same form of cancer which Biden's son Beau Biden battled before his death in 2015.

“John McCain’s life is proof that some truths are timeless. Character. Courage. Integrity. Honor. A life lived embodying those truths casts a long, long shadow. John McCain will cast a long shadow. His impact on America hasn’t ended. Not even close. It will go on for many years to come … America will miss John McCain. The world will miss John McCain. And I will miss him dearly,” Biden wrote.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerYouth organizations call on Biden to ensure 'bold' climate investments New York Times calls on Cuomo to resign 'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium MORE (D-N.Y.) released a statement honoring his former colleague and said he would introduce a resolution to rename a Senate office building after McCain. 

“As you go through life, you meet few truly great people. John McCain was one of them. His dedication to his country and the military were unsurpassed, and maybe most of all, he was a truth teller - never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare. The Senate, the United States, and the world are lesser places without John McCain,” Schumer said.

Schumer's Republican counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Trump asks court to block release of tax returns to Congress | Private sector adds 330K jobs in July, well short of expectations Senate panel advances first three spending bills McConnell lays out GOP demands for government-funding deal MORE (R-Ky.) praised McCain as a "bright example."

“In an era filled with cynicism about national unity and public service, John McCain’s life shone as a bright example," McConnell wrote. "He showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or clichés, but the building blocks of an extraordinary American life … It’s an understatement to say the Senate will not be the same without our friend John. I will treasure the many memories we’ve shared together through the years.” 

McCain’s fellow Arizonan, 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.), tweeted that the world had "lost a hero and a statesman," with McCain's death. 

“Words cannot express the sorrow I feel at John McCain’s passing. The world has lost a hero and a statesman. Cindy and the McCain family have lost a loving husband and father. I have lost a wonderful friend.”

McCain’s running mate from his 2008 presidential bid, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) also offered her condolences to the McCain family.

“Today we lost an American original. Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life - and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self.”

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTo cut poverty and solve the labor shortage, enhance the Earned Income Tax Credit Wisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump MORE (R-Wis.) mourned McCain’s loss, saying, “This is a sad day for the United States. Our country has lost a decorated war hero and statesman."

"John McCain was a giant of our time — not just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life. John put principle before politics. He put country before self," he continued. "He was one of the most courageous men of the century. He will always be listed among freedom’s most gallant and faithful servants.”

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLiz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party 19 House Democrats call on Capitol physician to mandate vaccines Ohio special election: A good day for Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted that McCain “was a leader & public servant of deep patriotism, outstanding bravery & undaunted spirit. Throughout his career, we all saw his integrity, humility, courage & grace. May it be a comfort to his family to know that so many around the world mourn with them.” 

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said she had known no one with "greater courage" or "stronger convictions" than McCain.

“I have not know anyone with greater courage, stronger convictions or more devotion to country than John McCain. He is irreplaceable, but his legacy will live wherever democracy is defended, human rights are protected, and U.S. leadership is exerted in defense of universal values,” she wrote.

Former Republican presidential candidate and current Utah Republican Senate candidate Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE said McCain "defined a life of honor," and a good friend.

“John McCain defined a life of honor. Serving his country in an unpopular war, refusing preferential release from prison and torture, rejecting the opprobrium directed by his supporter toward his political opponent, extolling the ascendency of the first black president who had just defeated him and voting his conscience in the face of his party’s universal condemnation,” Romney said in a statement.

“Integrity, duty, courage and character combined in John McCain: a great and heroic man of honor who stood tallest in the United States Senate. I will miss a good friend; America will miss a giant among men.” 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) called McCain's "selfless lifetime" a "profile in American exceptionalism."

“John McCain’s courageous and selfless lifetime of service is a profile in American exceptionalism. Prayers this evening for the Senator, Cindy and the entire McCain family,” he wrote.

Condolences also came from overseas, with French President Emmanuel Macron calling McCain a “true American hero.”

“John McCain was a true American hero,” Macron said in a tweet on Sunday. “He devoted his entire life to his country. His voice will be missed. Our respectful thoughts go to his beloved ones.”

— Updated Aug. 26 7:41 a.m.