Tue | Sep 18, 2018

For McCain, a cross-country funeral procession in the works

Published:Monday | August 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM
A makeshift memorial built at the office of Arizona Republican Senator John McCain yesterday in Phoenix.

WASHINGTON (AP):

Two former presidents are expected to speak at Senator John McCain's service, and he will lie in state in both the nation's capital and Arizona as part of a cross-country funeral procession ending with his burial at the US Naval Academy, according to plans that began to take shape yesterday.

McCain had long feuded with President Donald Trump, and two White House officials said McCain's family had asked, before the senator's death, that Trump not attend the funeral services. Vice-president Mike Pence is likely to attend, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

A day after McCain died of brain cancer at 81, his family, friends and congressional and state leaders were working out details of the farewell to the decorated Vietnam War hero, prisoner of war, and six-term senator.

The tributes were to begin in his home state, move to Washington in the first week of September, and end with McCain's burial on a leafy hill at the academy in Annapolis, Maryland, next to his best friend from the Class of 1958, Admiral Chuck Larson.

Trump tweeted that his "deepest sympathies and respect" went out to McCain's family. First lady Melania Trump tweeted thanks to McCain for his service to the country.

Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who blocked McCain's own White House ambitions, are among those expected to speak at McCain's funeral.

"These were bitter contests, both of them," said Senator Jeff Flake, and "to ask them to speak at your funeral, and for them to be honoured at the opportunity, that tells you all you need to know."