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 DurbinSupreme Court poised to hear first major gun case in a decade Protecting the future of student data privacy: The time to act is now Overnight Health Care: Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills | CDC confirms 47 vaping-related deaths | Massachusetts passes flavored tobacco, vaping products ban MORE (D-Ill.) on Sunday praised John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEx-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat Man acquitted over tweet offering 0 to killing an ICE agent Lessons of the Kamala Harris campaign 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 TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech 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.