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Congress Pays Tribute to John McCain

The special split-screen televisions in the press areas of the West Wing showed the same thing on each of the four news networks: live coverage of the service. But White House officials said they did not know whether Mr. Trump was watching.

The president was scheduled to leave the White House just before 1 p.m. for a trip to North Carolina before returning to Washington for what is expected to be a soggy weekend. A spokeswoman said the president has no public events on the schedule for the long, holiday weekend.

— Michael D. Shear

A Vietnamese immigrant offers thanks.

Tai Bui, 79, of Maryland, had a very simple answer for why he was willing to wait in a long, hot line to see Mr. McCain: without the senator, he would not have been able to immigrate to the United States.

Mr. Bui, born in Vietnam, aided American troops in their fight against the communists during the same war Mr. McCain fought in. His role in the war gave him a feeling of kinship with Mr. McCain: he too was imprisoned as punishment.

“I was put in a concentration camp for five years,” he said. “Mr. McCain, too.”

Twenty years ago, he was able to come to the United States with his wife, thanks to the Arizona senator’s efforts to help Vietnamese refugees relocate and reunite with their families.

When asked about the complex relationship Mr. McCain had with his country, Mr. Bui shook his head and answered emphatically: “He’s a hero. No question about it.”

— Catie Edmondson

A Different Generation Remembers McCain

After arriving in Washington earlier this week for a semester of classes and internships, a group of students from Marquette University agreed to upend their planned schedule and attend the memorial in the Rotunda.

“We thought we’d come live history,” said Sean Jettner, a 20-year-old criminology and political science major.

“Just because he lived in a different time,” he added. “Whatever he proposes lives on.”

Standing in a clump in the sweltering Washington heat, six of the 16 students standing the line agreed that Mr. McCain’s legacy carried a different meaning for them than their parents, who passed along prayer requests for a politician they had followed for decades.

Mr. McCain’s 2008 campaign for president was the first campaign the students all remembered — and his respect for opinions different from his own, they said, was something they were not accustomed to in Washington.

“He muddied the lines of the political parties,” said Alec Bodendorfer, 21, a political science and economics senior. “That’s probably the coolest thing about him.”

The diversity of the line in age and background was a relief, they said, and an example of the political legacy they hoped to see more of in the future.

“They’re able to set aside their differences and remember,” said Matt Rabinovitch, 21. “This is America.”

“We can still come together on one thing,” Mr. Jettner added.

Trump stayed away, but some of his advisers didn’t

Mr. Pence was not the only person representing the Trump administration in the Rotunda on Friday. John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, stood stony-faced at the ceremony. Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to the president, was nearby, at one point chatting amiably with Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, which Mr. Trump routinely decries as a “witch hunt.”

Jeff Sessions, the attorney general whom Mr. Trump has berated publicly and privately for recusing himself from that probe — but praised during an interview on Thursday — was also present to honor a senator with whom he served. So was Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence whose conclusions Mr. Trump has publicly questioned, and who is also a former senator from Indiana.

National security leaders who dealt extensively with Mr. McCain during his many on the Armed Services Committee also came to see him lying in state, including Jim Mattis, the secretary of defense; John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser; and Heather Wilson, the secretary of the Air Force and a former House representative from New Mexico.

Mitch McConnell leads off for a man he often clashed with.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and majority leader, and Mr. McCain had a tempestuous relationship over their careers, fighting about campaign finance laws all the way to the Supreme Court. Mr. McCain was not easily led and Mr. McConnell’s job was to lead.

But they repaired any lingering damage in recent years and settled into a comfortable camaraderie that was upended a bit by Mr. McCain’s decision to oppose Mr. McConnell’s drive to repeal the new health care law. Still, there was a strong mutual respect for the abilities of one another.

Mr. McConnell proudly took note of the occasional difficulties of dealing with John McCain.

[From the Arizona State Capitol to Washington National Cathedral, John McCain will be honored in a series of memorial services this week. Here are vignettes of the ceremony and sentiment.]

Video

John McCain: The Making of a Maverick

A look at the formative times and turmoil that shaped a historic American figure, with Carl Hulse, The Times’s chief Washington correspondent.


By ROBIN STEIN, CARL HULSE, DAVID BOTTI and CHRIS CIRILLO on Publish Date August 25, 2018.


Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

Watch in Times Video »

“He treated every issue with the intensity the people’s business deserves,” Mr. McConnell said. “He would fight tooth and nail for his vision of the common good. Depending on the issue, you knew John would either be your staunchest ally or your most stubborn opponent.”

Paul Ryan says he loved being cursed out by Senator McCain.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan was among those remembering Mr. McCain’s fighting streak with fondness.

“I myself, from time to time, found myself on the receiving end of John’s distinct brand of candor — happily so,” Mr. Ryan said. “I remember thinking more than once, ‘Yeah, he really does talk like a sailor.’ ”

“With John, it was never feigned disagreement,” he added. “The man didn’t feign anything — he just relished the fight.”

Mr. Ryan quoted a passage from one of Mr. McCain’s favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway, who wrote in “A Farewell to Arms” about how people grow “strong at the broken places,” a trait he said the senator embodied.

“Though the highest office eluded him,” Mr. Ryan said, “he attained what is far more enduring: the abiding affection of his fellow citizens and an example for future generations.”

After a Midnight Vote, a 19 Hour Trip

Anna Marie Farone had never followed Senator McCain’s political or professional career before 2017. She knew he ran against President Barack Obama, but did not cast a vote.

But Ms. Farone, 33, who suffers from a degenerative spine condition, avidly watched the debate over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and celebrated when Mr. McCain made his dramatic thumbs-down vote on the Senate floor last summer, preserving the health care law.

It was that vote that led her to travel to Washington for the first time since the Clinton administration — a 19-hour trip from Indianapolis that included a missed Greyhound connection and a last-minute flight out of Pittsburgh — and be the first in line outside the Capitol to make it into the Rotunda to pay her respects.

“It was that one ACA vote,” said the freelancer and urban farmer, who arrived outside the Capitol Visitor Center Friday just six hours after reaching Washington. “He did side with the humans when it mattered.”

And while Ms. Farone disagreed with some of his other votes, including his support for last year’s Republican tax overhaul, she said she wanted to celebrate his willingness to work for bipartisan measures.

“He may not have always done it right, but he did it well” she said. “He was human.”

Behind her, dozens of people had started to gather in line to wait to pay their respects later this afternoon — sprawled out on beach towels and huddled under umbrellas that protected them from first the sweltering early morning heat and then scattered rain.

“Look at how willing everyone is to uplift him,” Ms. Farone said. “He’s not deceased as so much converted into a legend. A person of the ages.”

Veterans gathered to pay their respects.

Carmine Garritano, 71, was one of several veterans who gathered outside, wearing symbols of the armed service they shared with Mr. McCain: hats from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, uniform hats and vests studded with badges and buttons reflective of their service.

Mr. Garritano, a retired Army specialist, had served in Vietnam, but his time in the country overlapped with only a fraction of Mr. McCain’s time as a prisoner of war. He had tried for years to find an opportunity to meet Mr. McCain in Washington. Instead, he drove down from New York with his daughter to pay his respects in the Capitol Rotunda.

“I wanted to come down and shake his hand, and say thank you,” Mr. Garritano said, his voice shaking with emotion.

“This is the least I could do,” he concluded.

As he wiped away a tear, another veteran, in a dress shirt and an American Legion hat, silently embraced him in the line.

David Alvarez, 72, was 18 when he began his first tour with the Marine Corps in Vietnam. That experience, coupled with years spent outside the Senate doors as a Capitol Police officer gave him a kinship, he said, with Mr. McCain.

“I feel honored to be here,” he said.

Though there were at least a hundred people standing between him and the doors to the Capitol, he already grew emotional at the thought of what he would say before Mr. McCain’s coffin.

“Thank you for your service,” he said, clapping his Vietnam Veterans cap to his chest. “Then, slow salute,” he added.

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News credit : Nytimes

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