Republicans mixed over John McCain's wish to exclude Trump from funeral


Republicans expressed mixed feelings about U.S. Sen. John McCain’s desire to exclude President Trump from his funeral, noting the differences between the two politicians expose fissures within their own party.

“Sen. McCain served his country honorably. He is a war hero. Donald Trump had a different opinion of him being a hero,” said former New Hampshire state Rep. Fran Wendelboe. She described herself as a “strong supporter of the president” but said of McCain’s decision: “I’m disappointed he chose to make the decision public. I hate the fact that it’s being politicized. … I also respect his right to say who he wants at his funeral.”

According to reports, people close to McCain have told the White House he does not want Trump to attend his funeral and would like Vice President Mike Pence to come instead. McCain, 81, has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer for nearly a year and is home in Arizona.

Rod Benfield, a South Carolina Republican consultant, said he voted for Trump, and McCain’s decision is no shocker. “There is no love lost between those two. … It’s kind of like family members not getting along.” But Alex Patton, a Republican consultant from Florida, said he gave Trump a chance as president and he does not deserve to be at McCain’s funeral.

“Sen. McCain’s funeral will be a celebration of decency and honor, and to have a president void of those very characteristics would be an insult to that legacy,” he said. Patton added of Trump: “He’s proven himself to be an anathema.”

McCain said in an audio excerpt this week of his forthcoming memoir, “I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here,” according to a clip aired by NPR.

Trump did not attend the recent funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush in Houston in order “to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service,” the White House said last month.

Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush plan to be eulogists at McCain’s funeral service.

During the 2016 presidential primary, Trump said McCain was considered a war hero only “because he was captured” during the Vietnam War. Last summer, Trump blasted McCain for his “no” vote that helped doom an Obamacare repeal bill in the Senate.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.



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