The tributes to John McCain continued to mount on Sunday, honoring the legacy of the Vietnam war hero, Arizona senator and one-time GOP presidential nominee who died on Saturday from cancer at the age of 81.
“I don’t think we’ll ever see anyone like John McCain, I think he was one of a kind,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Sunday of his home state colleague on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Capitol Hill staffers, reporters, and other Washingtonians who knew McCain also posted on Twitter some of their favorite stories about him ― a man who possessed a sometimes cantankerous, yet always gracious and authentic personality.
Met John McCain once. I was a 22 year old senate intern waiting for an elevator. The doors opened, and he and another GOP senator were inside. I apologized and said I'd want for the next one, but McCain told me to hop on. 1/3— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) August 26, 2018
"Who do you work for," he asked.— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) August 26, 2018
"Ted Kennedy, sir."
"He's a good man," McCain said. "Without him, we're lost." 2/3
The other Senator scoffed in disgust and got off the elevator at the next floor. While he was still in earshot, McCain raised his voice a little and said, "Don't mind him. He's an asshole."— Cody Keenan (@codykeenan) August 26, 2018
And that's the time I met John McCain.
In retrospect McCain also was able to have a sense of humor about being shot down in Vietnam:— Tim Mak (@timkmak) August 26, 2018
"I intercepted a surface to air missile with my plane," he would joke. "That's not easy!"
On my way to MSNBC, my driver just told me that he drove @SenJohnMcCain many times and he “always sat in the front seat”.— Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) August 26, 2018
I know it sounds like a small gesture, but in a town ruled by egos, it was such a touching thing to hear — and speaks so much to McCain’s character.
Here’s a McCain story:— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) August 26, 2018
I was at a 2013 hearing on Chuck Hagel’s DefSec nom, and Ted Cruz suggested Hagel might be taking money from North Korea or Saudi Arabia. McCain stood up for Hagel and chastised Cruz—in public and in private.
In retrospect, a turning point for the GOP.
This was 2.5 yrs ago. He’d just told me to keep the fight up against cancer. I told him I hated the wigs and hats. He said at least my hair would grow back - his wouldn’t and maybe he should borrow the hat. I laughed. It meant a lot to a sick woman. pic.twitter.com/X5F5t3UtWX— Antonia Ferrier (@ahrferrier) August 26, 2018
A quick McCain story: 1/ A few years ago, the whole Senate gathered to hear John tell, in spellbinding detail, his POW story. I remember he described how he developed a system of tapping out letters on the cell walls to talk to nearby POWs, bc they would be beaten if they spoke.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 26, 2018
2/ When it was time for questions, Diane Feinstein asked John if he could still recall, 40 years later, how the system worked. He didn’t say a word. He just started a rythmic, staccato tapping on the podium. “I just tapped out ‘Yes, Diane, I still can”, he whispered into the mic.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 26, 2018
After I shot this, @SenJohnMcCain said something like “You better not use that!” I said I had to bc it was the best picture I got all week. He just laughed it off. Photo from January 2015, U.S. Capitol. pic.twitter.com/Jr3Il205rx— Tom Williams (@pennstatetom) August 26, 2018
I once told @SenJohnMcCain that to support him in the primaries when he was running against George W Bush in 2000 I had for the first time in my life maxed out (or even donated) to a @GOP presidential contender. His reply: “Norm, you’re not as smart as you look.“ https://t.co/R137pKOsy3— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) August 26, 2018
Just remembered that when Dan Inouye gave a scheduled floor speech about the attack on Pearl Harbor on the 60th anniversary, almost no senators showed up.— Niels Lesniewski (@nielslesniewski) August 26, 2018
McCain was there. https://t.co/1gUivZZ60w
“I haven’t had this much fun since my last interrogation.” pic.twitter.com/5u8y8Hzb1m— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) August 26, 2018
So, I have a @SenJohnMcCain story. In December of 2003, my cousin, a Massachusetts resident, was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He spent weeks recovering and enduring eye surgeries at Walter Reed. I was a staff assistant in Joe Biden’s office - the lowest of low Senate jobs— Josh Zembik (@jzembik) August 26, 2018
I asked Erik if there was anything I could do to help him pass time and take his mind off things. He had one ask, and on its face it seemed like a huge one, just get me in to meet @SenJohnMcCain— Josh Zembik (@jzembik) August 26, 2018
“Oh sure,” I thought. A staff assistant for a Delaware senator will just get a meeting for his Massachusetts-native cousin with the senior senator from Arizona. But I emailed McCain’s scheduler, and almost immediately she gave me a time and date for Erik and his dad to stop by— Josh Zembik (@jzembik) August 26, 2018
I tried to temper their expectations. I assumed we’d be part of a constituent breakfast or another massive group. But when we got there, we were shown right into @SenJohnMcCain’s office. Just the three of us.— Josh Zembik (@jzembik) August 26, 2018
Sen. McCain signed a stack of books and took what had to have been 15-20 minutes with Erik. He asked specific questions about the bombing, his time in Iraq before the explosion, and whether he was being taken care of at Walter Reed. He took pictures with us— Josh Zembik (@jzembik) August 26, 2018
Senators’ schedules are insane, and in retrospect the time @SenJohnMcCain took with us is even more amazing. He didn’t have to take the meeting, and he certainly didn’t have to give us all of that time. I’ll never forget it. And I’ll never forget him.— Josh Zembik (@jzembik) August 26, 2018
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