NATO head shoots down idea of naming new headquarters after McCain

NATO head shoots down idea of naming new headquarters after McCain
© Camille Fine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday shot down the idea of naming NATO’s new headquarters after the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain joins board of Biden's presidential transition team Meet the first woman to run for president Jill Biden shuts down Jake Tapper's question about husband's 'occasional gaffe' MORE (R-Ariz.), explaining that the alliance does not “have a tradition of naming buildings after politicians.”

“NATO doesn’t have a tradition of naming buildings after politicians. We are 29 [member countries] with a lot of presidents, kings, heads of state and governments, so we haven’t introduced that tradition,” Stoltenberg told attendees at a Heritage Foundation event in Washington, D.C.


“So I’m certain that we will be able to honor John McCain, but not necessarily through naming a building. We honor John McCain every day through the fact that we stand together in NATO and deliver a strong transatlantic deterrence and defense.”

Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress earlier this month introduced a resolution to support the effort to name NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels after McCain, who was a staunch defender of the transatlantic alliance.

He died in late August after being diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year earlier.

“John McCain dedicated his life to the defense of freedom,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “I can think of no more appropriate tribute than naming the headquarters of the free world's foundational alliance in his memory.”

NATO officials said last month that the request “will be considered carefully” for the naming of the new $1.45 billion headquarters, which will house nearly 4,000 military and civilian personnel from the alliance. NATO officially moved into the building in April.

Stoltenberg — who attended McCain’s funeral in D.C. — added that he and NATO allies “very much respect late Sen. John McCain for many reasons but not least because of his very strong support and commitment to NATO, to the transatlantic bond.”

“He has lifelong career in support of NATO and the values that NATO defends,” Stoltenberg added.

“I know that all allies respect him very much and honor his memory.”