President Donald Trump will not attend the funeral for Senator John McCain, who died on Saturday at age 81 following treatment for brain cancer.

“The president will not be, as far as we know, attending the funeral. That’s just a fact.” said Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager and longtime adviser. Instead, Vice President Mike Pence will represent as Trump administration designee to honor the six-term Arizona senator at the U.S. Capital Rotunda.

Prior to passing away on Saturday, McCain had reportedly made it clear to friends and family that he didn’t want Trump attending his service. The president and McCain had a publicly strained relationship for years. On Sunday, Trump tweeted a brief condolence to the senator’s family, but notably omitted mention of McCain’s service in the military or Senate.

Sources familiar with the matter told the Washington Post that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Chief of Staff John Kelly, among other White House aides, recommended the release of a statement lauding McCain as a “hero.” But Trump decided to issue a relatively brief tweet instead, which did not directly use his name.


Speakers at events in Washington honoring McCain will include former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Former Vice President Joe Biden, McCain’s longtime Senate colleague, is expected to speak at a service for the Arizona Republican in Phoenix on Thursday.

In a statement on Saturday, Obama saluted McCain’s “fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed.” Bush praised a “man of deep conviction” and a “public servant in the finest traditions of our country.”

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