Arizona Gov. Ducey: ‘Arizona without John McCain is like picturing Arizona without the Grand Canyon’

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) during a service honoring the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said it is “not natural” to picture the state without McCain, comparing it to Arizona losing the Grand Canyon.

“To the rest of the world, John McCain was Arizona,” Ducey said on Wednesday during his remarks at the memorial service in the Arizona State Capital. “When all of us here traveled and told people we were from Arizona, people knew two big things about it: John McCain and the Grand Canyon.”

{mosads}”Imagining Arizona without John McCain is like picturing Arizona without the Grand Canyon,” Ducey said. “It’s just not natural.”

Ducey opened his remarks with a description of the former Navy captain returning to the U.S. after spending five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. 

“His talk of ‘country first’ wasn’t simply a slogan on a yard sign,” Ducey said. “It was what John McCain had done and demonstrated, over and over and over again, in the Navy, through Vietnam, and all the way to his favorite battles on the floor of the United States Senate.”  

The Arizona governor, who is tasked with naming McCain’s successor by the end of the week, praised the so-called Senate “maverick.”

“John McCain was about more than politics,” Ducey said. “John is probably the only politician who could get us to set aside politics and come together as a state and a nation, as we have.” 

He recalled a visit during McCain’s treatment for brain cancer in May with McCain and his wife, Cindy, who some have floated as a possible successor to her husband.

“Before lunch, the senator broke the ice by sharing what was weighing on his mind most of all,” Ducey said. “Breaking into his signature grin, he said, ‘My biggest challenge is deciding whether or not to run for reelection in 2022.'” 

McCain is the third person to lie in state in the Arizona State Capitol rotunda in 40 years. 

The Capitol will be open to members of the public who want to pay their respects throughout the day. The public has also been invited to participate in the procession before Thursday’s memorial service at the North Phoenix Baptist.

McCain will then lie in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Friday, and he will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy on Sunday.

Services commemorating McCain’s life throughout the week will feature leaders from both parties, including former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

Tags Barack Obama John McCain

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