Ayotte: I hope McCain's death is a 'calling for more decency, integrity and honor in our politics'

Ayotte: I hope McCain's death is a 'calling for more decency, integrity and honor in our politics'
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Former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteSchultz recruiting GOP insiders ahead of possible 2020 bid Bottom Line US, allies must stand in united opposition to Iran’s bad behavior MORE (R) on Sunday mourned the death Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCNN anchor hits Trump: He didn't go to Vietnam 'until he was in his 70s' with 'Secret Service protection' Trump reignites criticism of McCain months after senator's death Graham defends McCain amid Trump attacks: 'Nothing about his service will ever be changed' MORE (R-Ariz.), saying that she hopes his death serves as “a calling for more decency, integrity and honor in our politics.”

Ayotte praised her longtime friend and Senate colleague on CNN's "State of the Union," noting that McCain "always stood up for what he believed in." 

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CNN's Jake Tapper pressed Ayotte on McCain’s frequent disagreements with President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE.

"Whoever was in the corner office, he would disagree with them when he thought they weren’t acting in the best interest of America,” Ayotte said.

McCain often disagreed with Trump, criticizing him for his trade policies and attacks on the media. Trump, too, lashed out at the senator from his time on the campaign trail to his tenure in the White House.

“The thing I think about today is John and I hope that his passing is a calling for more decency, integrity and honor in our politics because that’s what John stood for and that’s really what his legacy is,” Ayotte continued.

News of McCain's death prompted an outpouring of tribute and sympathy from politicians on both sides of the aisle. Throughout his decades-long career, McCain built respect and friendships among colleagues in both parties.

McCain died Saturday at age 81 after battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. His family had announced Friday that he had chosen to discontinue treatment for the cancer.

He survived years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam before rising to become a giant of the Senate and a leading actor on the political stage.