JOHN MCCAIN, SENATOR AND FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, DIES AT 81

Mccain, Who Has Died At The Age Of 81, Was A Naval Bomber Pilot, Prisoner Of War, Conservative Maverick, Giant Of The Senate, Twice-Defeated Presidential Candidate And An Abrasive American Hero.

The Political World Reacts To Sen. John Mccain’s Death

The Arizonan Warrior Politician, Who Survived Plane Crashes, Several Attacks Of Skin Cancer And Brushes With Political Unconsciousness, Often Seemed To Be Perpetually Waging A Race Against Time And His Own Mortality While Striving To Ensure That His Five-And-A-Half Years As A Vietnam Prisoner Of War Did Not Stand As The Defining Experience Of His Life.

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He Spent His Last Few Months Out Of The Public Eye In His Adopted Home State Of Arizona, Reflecting On The Meaning Of His Life And Accepting Visits From A Stream Of Friends And Old Political Combatants.

In A Memoir Published In May, Mccain Wrote That He Hated To Leave The World, But Had No Complaints.

“It’s Been Quite A Ride. I’ve Known Great Passions, Seen Amazing Wonders, Fought In A War, And Helped Make Peace,” Mccain Wrote. “I’ve Lived Very Well And I’ve Been Deprived Of All Comforts. I’ve Been As Lonely As A Person Can Be And I’ve Enjoyed The Company Of Heroes. I’ve Suffered The Deepest Despair And Experienced The Highest Jubilation.

“I Made A Small Place For Myself In The Story Of America And The History Of My Times.”

Mccain Had Not Been In Washington Since December, Leaving A Vacuum In The Corridors Of The Senate And The Television News Studios He Roamed For Decades.

In Recent Months, He Was Not Completely Quiet, However, Blasting President Donald Trump In A Series Of Tweets And Statements That Showed That While He Was Ailing He Had Lost None Of His Appetite For The Political Fight.

Mccain Will Lie In State In The Arizona Capitol On Wednesday, The Day Mccain *Would Have* Turned 82 Years Old, According To The State’s Governor, Doug Ducey. After That Service, He Will Be Taken To Washington On Thursday, And Will Lie In State In The Capitol On Friday, According To Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mcconnell’s Office.

Mccain Will Have A National Memorial Service At Washington’s National Cathedral On Saturday, According To The Family Statement. After That, He Will Be Taken To Annapolis, Maryland, Where He Will Be Laid To Rest.

Mccain’s Two Losing Presidential Campaigns Meant He Fell Short Of The Ultimate Political Prize, One His Story Once Seemed To Promise After He Came Home From Vietnam And Caught The Political Bug. In The End, He Became A Scourge Of Presidents Rather Than President Himself.

In A Washington Career That Spanned 40 Years, First As A Navy Senate Liaison, Then As A Member Of The House And Finally As The Occupant Of The Senate Seat He Took Over From Barry Goldwater, Mccain Was A Conservative And A Foreign Policy Hawk. But He Was Not Always A Reliable Republican Vote, And Sometimes In A Career That Stretched Into A Sixth Senate Term, He Stunned Party Leaders With His One Of A Kind Stands. He Defied Party Belief To Embrace Campaign Finance Reform, And Criticized President George W. Bush’s Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, For Not Taking Enough Troops To Iraq.

After Obama Ended Mccain’s Second White House Race In 2008, The Senator Blasted The New President’s Troop Withdrawals From Iraq And Afghanistan, Causing Critics To Complain That He Had Not Yet Reconciled The Bitterness He Felt In Defeat. Mccain Had Supported The Invasion Of Iraq Carried Out By The Bush Administration In 2003, But Admitted In His Memoir “The Restless Wave” That The Rationale, That Saddam Hussein Had Weapons Of Mass Destruction Was Wrong.

More Recently, As Death Approached, He Became A Harsh Critic Of Trump, Who Had Once Said He Didn’t Consider The Arizona Senator A War Hero Because He Had Been Captured.

Mccain Questioned Why Trump Was Solicitous Of Vladimir Putin, Whom He Regarded As An Untransformed Kgb Apparatchik.

In One Of His Final Public Acts, He Blasted Trump’s Cozy Summit With The Russian President In July, Blasting It As “One Of The Most Disgraceful Performances By An American President In Memory.”

In July 2017, Mccain Returned From Brain Surgery To The Senate Floor To Lambaste “Bombastic Loudmouths” On The Television, Radio And Internet And Plead For A Return To A More Civilized Political Age, When Compromise And Regular Order Forged Bipartisan Solutions.

Then, In September, In A Poignant Speech That Seemed Designed To Echo Down The Ages After He Was Gone, Mccain Reminded His Colleagues They Were A Check On Executive Power: “We Are Not The President’s Subordinates,” He Said. “We Are His Equals.”

In A Final Act Of Defiant Independence, Mccain, With A Dramatic Thumbs-Down Gesture On The Senate Floor In September, Cast The Vote That Scuttled The Gop’s Effort To Repeal And Replace Obamacare, Causing Fury Within His Party — A Move That Prompted Trump, To The Fury Of Mccain’s Family To Repeatedly Single Him Out In Campaign Rallies.

When The President Signed Mccain’s Last Legislative Triumph In August, The John S. Mccain National Defense Authorization Act, He Did Not Even Mention The Arizona Senator.

By 1967, Mccain Was In The Pacific And Escaped Death In A Massive Fire Aboard The Uss Forrestal Aircraft Carrier. Months Later, He Was Shot Down In His Skyhawk Jet Over North Vietnam And Parachuted Into A Lake Near Hanoi, Breaking Both Arms And A Leg, And Was Captured By Communist Soldiers. In Captivity, Mccain Was Tortured And Beaten, An Experience That Left Him With Lifelong Injuries, Including Severely Restricted Movement Of His Arms. He Kept Himself Sane By Tapping On A Wall To Communicate With A Fellow Prisoner In A Neighboring Cell. Later, He Refused The Offer Of A Privileged Release, Made Because His Father Was An Admiral, Until His Comrades Could Also Come Home, Eventually Returning In 1973 To A Nation Politically Torn By The War.

His Period In Captivity Set The Course Of His Life.

After Turning To Politics, Mccain Served In The House From 1983, Won An Arizona Us Senate Seat In 1986 And Established Himself As A Down-The-Line Conservative In The Age Of Ronald Reagan. But His Political Career Almost Fizzled Before It Began When He Was Among The Keating Five Group Of Senators Accused Of Interfering With Regulators In A Campaign Finance Case. He Was Cleared Of Wrongdoing, But The Senate Ethics Committee Reprimanded Him For Poor Judgment, An Experience That Led To Him Becoming A Pioneer Of Campaign Finance Reform..

‘He Served His Country … And, I Hope We Could Add, Honorably’

The Republicans’ Recapture Of The Senate In The 2014 Midterm Elections Gave Mccain A Chance To Rewrite The Final Chapter Of His Career.

He At Last Took The Gavel Of The Armed Services Committee, An Assignment He Had Long Desire. His Prominent Position Was Seen As One Reason He Ran For Re-Election In 2016.

But He Knew His Time Was Limited.

Still, Despite Saying He Was “Older Than Dirt,” Mccain Made Few Allowances To His Age. Even After Turning 80, He Maintained A Punishing Schedule Of World Travel, Conferring With Top Leaders And Heading To War Zones In Trips That Left His Younger Congressional Colleagues Exhausted.

Mccain, Who Was Divorced From His First Wife, Carol, In 1980, Is Survived By His Wife, Cindy, And Seven Children, Including Three Sons Who Continued The Family Tradition Of Serving In The Armed Forces And A Daughter, Meghan, Who Is A Presenter On Abc’s “The View.” His Mother, Roberta, Aged 106, Is Also Still Living.

For His Military Service, He Was Awarded The Silver Star, The Bronze Star, The Legion Of Merit, A Purple Heart And The Distinguished Flying Cross.

Asked How He Wanted To Be Remembered, Mccain Said: “He Served His Country, And Not Always Right — Made A Lot Of Mistakes, Made A Lot Of Errors — But Served His Country, And, I Hope We Could Add, Honourably.”

Mccain, Who Will Be Remembered As Much For His Combative Nature As His Political Achievements, Summed Up The Meaning Of A Life Forged In The Example Of His Political Hero Theodore Roosevelt When Mccain Stood Before The Flag-Draped Coffin Of His Friend And Foe, Sen. Kennedy, In 2009.

His Late Colleague From Massachusetts Died From The Same Form Of Brain Cancer That Eventually Killed Mccain. Both Men Died On August 25.

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