Politicians from both sides of the political aisle mourned the death of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) while honoring his legacy as a lawmaker and war hero.
The 81-year-old Vietnam War veteran and 2008 Republican presidential nominee died on Saturday, one day after his family announced he would be ending his treatment for brain cancer. McCain was diagnosed in July 2017 and spent most of the time since then receiving treatment in Arizona, while continuing his work as a senator.
Reacting to news of McCain’s death, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted, “America and Freedom have lost one of her greatest champions.”
Graham added, “I’ve lost one of my dearest friends and mentor.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) praised McCain’s drive to speak the truth.
“His dedication to his country and the military were unsurpassed,” Schumer wrote on Twitter. “And maybe most of all, he was a truth teller ― never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare.”
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor who was McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election, had a strained relationship with him after he admitted he regretted picking her to be his vice presidential candidate.
On Saturday, however, Palin said McCain was her friend and vowed to “remember the good times.”
Below, see how political figures ― as well as family members ― paid tribute to McCain:
Former President Barack Obama
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
Ryan also issued a longer statement:
This is a sad day for the United States. Our country has lost a decorated war hero and statesman. John McCain was a giant of our time—not just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life. John put principle before politics. He put country before self. He was one of the most courageous men of the century. He will always be listed among freedom’s most gallant and faithful servants. Our hearts are with his wife, Cindy, his children, and his grandchildren. This Congress, this country mourn with them.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
″I’ll remember John McCain as a source of great strength to our county ― his personal strength and the strength of his love of our country and his love of peace,” Pelosi said on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“Right now, I’m just heartbroken,” she continued. “I think America’s in tears about the loss of this great man. ... I’ll just remember him in a funny way. He always made me laugh.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Former Vice President Al Gore
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R)
Former President Jimmy Carter
U.S. Naval Air Forces
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Clinton, who as a senator from New York served with McCain, remembered him during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press:”
“We could all talk for hours about what he meant for the country, what he meant to the Senate,” she said. “He will be missed for many, many reasons, [incuding]that example he set of working across the aisle.”
She also said his efforts at “working to bring people together, here at home and around the world, is one that should be remembered.”
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
Flake penned a tribute to his fellow Arizona lawmaker published Saturday in The Washington Post.
“We may never see his like again, but it is his reflection of America that we need now more than ever,” Flake wrote. “He was far too self-deprecating to ever have thought of himself as just such a towering figure, so I will go ahead and say it. He showed us who we are and who we can be when we are at our best. And he devoted his life to service and to the exalted idea of America that was bigger and better than him. Bigger than us all.”
Flake also praised McCain’s legacy in comments Sunday on “This Week.”
“His people talk about he had a temper ― it was passionate, that’s certainly the case,” he said. “But he would quickly forgive and move on and... see the good in his opponents; that is something that particularly these days we could use a lot more of. That’s a lesson that he taught everyone.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
French President Emmanuel Macron
Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)
John Weaver, McCain’s former chief strategist
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.)
Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.)
Former President George H. W. Bush
Ret. Gen. David Petraeus
“No one had the backs of America’s new greatest generation — those who fought the wars of the post 9/11 period — more than he did, no one did more to assure that they had what was needed to prevail,” Petraeus said of McCain on Sunday on “This Week.”
This story has been updated with additional comments.