WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS NEWS) — A memorial service for Sen. John McCain is taking place in Washington on Saturday. Former President George W. Bush and former President Barack Obama are giving eulogies at the service at the Washington National Cathedral. Both men defeated McCain in his two campaigns to become president, in 2000 and 2008. President Donald Trump is not attending.
The service began at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Meghan McCain, a co-host of “The View” on ABC, was the first speaker to give tribute to her father.
“I am here before you today to say the words I have never wanted to say,” McCain said about her father’s death. “We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness.”
McCain also made veiled references to President Trump, denouncing the “cheap rhetoric” characterizing politics today, and referring to men who avoided service in the Vietnam War. Mr. Trump had five deferments from serving in the war.
However, most of McCain’s tribute was in honor of her father’s parenting.
“The best of John McCain, the greatest of his titles, and the most important of his roles was as a father,” McCain said. “John McCain was defined by love.”
She discussed her parents’ relationship, as well as relationships among her family. She told a story of when he encouraged her to get back on a horse after an injury, and how that inspired her to keep going. McCain also discussed the lessons from her father’s suffering.
“My father knew pain and suffering with an intimacy and an immediacy that most of us are blessed never to have endured,” McCain said. “Yet he survived, yet he endured, yet he triumphed.”
She described “the America of John McCain” as the America of the Revolution, Abraham Lincoln and members of the armed services.
“The America of John McCain is generous, welcoming and bold,” she said. She took another shot at Mr. Trump: “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.” The audience reacted with applause.
“My father is gone, and my sorrow is immense, but I know his life was great because it was good,” McCain said toward the end of her tribute.
The “maverick” senator was previously honored at a memorial ceremony in his home state of Arizona on Thursday, where he was eulogized by friend and luminaries such as former Vice President Joe Biden. Thousands of citizens paid respect as he lay in state at the Arizona Capitol.
Then on Friday, McCain lay in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, where top elected officials paid their respects. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence all gave remarks honoring McCain at a morning ceremony. The public had the opportunity to pay respects on Friday afternoon.
McCain will be buried with military honors following a private service at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday.
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