Trump to be absent as former presidents due to attend John McCain service

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President Donald Trump will not play any part in John McCain’s farewell to the United States.

At his request, former presidents Barack Obama, a Democrat, and George W Bush, a Republican, are speaking about the six-term senator at his final Washington event at the majestic Washington National Cathedral.

But Mr Trump was told to stay away from all events during Mr McCain’s five-day, cross-country funeral procession.

The Arizona senator is to be buried on Sunday in a private ceremony at his alma mater, the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He died of brain cancer on August 25 at the age of 81.

Mr McCain’s coffin arrived at the capital on Friday morning as his family watched from the steps of the White House. It then took centre stage as invited guests gathered in the vast Rotunda to remember him.

“It is only right that today, near the end of his long journey, John lies here, in this great hall, under the mighty dome, like other American heroes before him,” said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Members of the public walk past the flag-draped coffin of John McCain
Members of the public walk past the flag-draped coffin of John McCain (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Mr McCain, a former Navy aviator, really did “talk like a sailor”, Mr Ryan said, drawing smiles from the crowd.

“But you see, with John, it wasn’t feigned disagreement. The man didn’t feign anything. He just relished the fight.”

Vice-president Mike Pence said he did not always agree with Mr McCain, but the late senator’s support for limited government, tax reform and the military “surely left our nation more prosperous and more secure”.

Mr McCain “served his country honourably,” Mr Pence said, adding that Mr Trump “respected his service to the country”.

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