Durbin praises McCain for 'uncommon decency' as a senator

Durbin praises McCain for 'uncommon decency' as a senator
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment GOP senator calls for public health emergency over new coronavirus Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum MORE (D-Ill.) on Sunday praised John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSchiff shows clip of McCain in Trump impeachment trial Martha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Meghan McCain blasts NY Times: 'Everyone already knows how much you despise' conservative women MORE for what Durbin called “uncommon decency” during his time as a senator, pointing to moments such as McCain's defense of former President Obama on the campaign trail.

Durbin said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the decency McCain displayed is “unfortunately on short supply in the American political scene.”

Durbin said “very few expected” McCain to defend Obama when he did during the 2008 campaign, referencing the moment McCain shut down a supporter for pushing a racist conspiracy theory about Obama. The supporter said during a town hall event in October 2008 that Obama was “an Arab.”

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“No, ma’am,” McCain 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].”

Video of that interaction has gone viral since McCain’s death Saturday.

“Contrast that with what we went through in the ‘lock her up’ chants of the last election,” Durbin said Sunday.

Durbin also pointed to McCain speaking out against white supremacists who rallied last year in Charlottesville, Va., at the “Unite the Right” rally, saying McCain “made it clear he considered them to be cowards.” McCain at the time called on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE, who blamed both sides for the violence at the rally, to say there’s no “moral equivalency” between white nationalists and counterprotesters.

Durbin also praised McCain for his views on immigration, something Durbin said is “not an easy issue for anybody, certainly not a conservative Republican from Arizona.”

McCain died on Saturday at 81 after a fight with brain cancer. His death has prompted an outpouring of tributes from both Democrats like Durbin and Republicans.