Largely owing to their long-running feud, President Donald Trump was not in attendance at the funeral service for late Arizona Sen. John McCain, and now the senator’s widow Cindy is speaking out about the decision to not invite the president to McCain’s funeral.
Cindy McCain recently sat down for an interview with the BBC ‘s Yalda Hakim, where the topic of McCain’s near-presidential-level honoring by the media and political establishment after death was up for discussion.
Wanted the service to be a show of “dignity”
The widow described her late husband as being “the conscience of the Senate, and in many ways, the conscience of the country.”
Hakim noted President Trump’s absence at the funeral, to which McCain replied, “Well, you have to remember that even though it was a very public funeral, we are still a family, and for all of us and for the sake of my own children, I didn’t want any disruption.”
“This was about John, not about anything else at all, and our country” she continued. “It was important that we kept it respectful and calm and not politicized. Sounds funny coming from a political family in a political country, but it was important that we kept it with dignity.”
Except, far from being non-political, the McCain funeral featured numerous top figures from the political world — including former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, among others — and was politicized by several sharp speeches featuring harsh rhetoric toward Trump — particularly from daughter Meghan McCain — that seemed at times to abandon respectfulness and dignity in favor of cheap shots at a hated rival not in attendance.
Non-committal on 2020 support
Hakim asked McCain if President Trump had her support for his 2020 re-election bid. McCain demurred and remained entirely non-committal, though she did seem to signal that Trump did not have her support and probably would be incapable of ever earning it.
“You know, I don’t even know if he’s gonna run, and he’s not sure, I don’t believe he’s sure he’s gonna run,” McCain said. “I don’t know. Like you, I don’t have any inside track on this, I just hear what I hear.”
Pressed by Hakim for an answer to “if the election were today,” would she support Trump, McCain replied, “I can’t answer that right now … I think at this point I’d like to see some softening of the rhetoric, I really would. It’s hard, it’s hurtful.”
Hakim asked if McCain felt “hurt” by Trump’s “not a war hero”remarks about her husband. McCain said, “Yeah, I was. I thought it was inappropriate and wrong, I really did. It hurt the family, too. And he hurt the other men that served with John, that were in prison as well, it wasn’t just about John, it was all the other people.”
“So I think that was a wrong thing to say, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it, to be honest, but I’m the wife, I guess that’s my prerogative, I don’t have to,” she said with a chuckle.
There is no question that the feud between Trump and McCain created a rather deep rift between the two, one that McCain’s wife appears to have taken personally and held on to as a grudge, so much so that she refused to invite the president to her husband’s funeral. Though her husband may now be buried, the hard feelings between the McCain family and Trump persist, and probably will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, certainly past 2020.