Barack Obama & George W. Bush To Eulogize John McCain At Funeral
McCain died Saturday at the age of 81 at his home in Arizona and he wanted to have Obama and former President George W. Bush, who was not especially close to him, to speak at his funeral. The invitation to Obama is extraordinary given their tough 2008 presidential race.
Obama shared McCain’s sense of alarm at today’s caustic political climate. Obama and Bush are part of a carefully choreographed message for America and the world in the wake of McCains death.
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday that McCain’s choice to include his two former opponents was a significant as a reach across the political divide.
“These were bitter contests, both of them,” Flake said. “To ask them to speak at your funeral and for them to be honored at the opportunity, that tells you all you need to know.”
Steve Duprey, a longtime friend of McCain’s and a senior adviser in his 2008 campaign, said the senator respected Obama, even if the two were never particularly close and wounds from their race were raw for years.
“I think it is John McCain imparting a lesson in civility by asking the two men who defeated him to speak, as an example to America that differences in political views and contests shouldn’t be so important that we lose our common bonds and the civility that is, or used to be, a hallmark of American democracy,” Duprey said.
President Donald Trump will not attend at the funeral, at McCains request. The New York Times said, “Mr. McCain quietly declared before his death that he did not want Mr. Trump to take part in his funeral.”