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Politics aside, reactions pour in about John McCain: ‘We are all in his debt’

In this file photo taken on September 05, 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain pauses while addressing a campaign event at the Freedom Hill Ampitheatre in Sterling Heights, Michigan. - US senator John McCain, a celebrated war hero known for reaching across the aisle in an increasingly divided America, died Saturday after losing a battle to brain cancer, his office said. He was 81. | Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP)ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The death Saturday of Sen. John McCain R-Ariz., leaves a void in the Senate and in U.S. politics.

Always outspoken, McCain’s straight talk was one of his trademarks, which made him a target of President Donald Trump. One of Trump’s low points when it came to McCain, a prisoner of war in Viet Nam, came during his 2016 campaign when he mocked McCain for being captured.

While others in the political world wrote warmly about McCain, whose death was not unexpected, Trump said in a tweet, only a terse “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

Former President Barack Obama, who beat McCain in the 2008 presidential contest said in a statement, “We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way.”

Trump’s political campaign reacted with a statement from Michael Glassner, Chief Operating Officer of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

“All of us at the Trump Campaign offer our sincere condolences to the family of Senator John McCain following his passing this evening. We encourage all Americans to take the opportunity to remember Senator McCain and his family in their prayers on this sad occasion.”

Reactions to McCain’s death poured in on Saturday night. His daughter left a touching message, tweeting “I love you forever.”

Statement from former President George W. Bush on the Passing of John McCain

Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I’ll deeply miss. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies to Cindy and the entire McCain family, and our thanks to God for the life of John McCain.”

Statement from former President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton on the Passing of John McCain

Senator John McCain believed that every citizen has a responsibility to make something of the freedoms given by our Constitution, and from his heroic service in the Navy to his 35 years in Congress, he lived by his creed every day. He was a skilled, tough politician, as well as a trusted colleague alongside whom Hillary was honored to serve in the Senate. He frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country, and was never afraid to break the mold if it was the right thing to do. I will always be especially grateful for his leadership in our successful efforts to normalize relations with Vietnam. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Cindy, his mother, Roberta, his children, and his entire family.

Statement from former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle – Statement on the Passing of Senator John McCain

John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed. We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way.

“Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.

Statement from Vice President Mike Pence

Karen and I send our deepest condolences to Cindy and the entire McCain family on the passing of Senator John McCain. We honor his lifetime of service to this nation in our military and in public life. His family and friends will be in our prayers. God bless John McCain.

Former Sen. Hillary Clinton

Statement from former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son died of a similar brain cancer

John McCain’s life is proof that some truths are timeless. Character. Courage. Integrity. Honor. A life lived embodying those truths casts a long, long shadow. John McCain will cast a long shadow. His impact on America hasn’t ended. Not even close. It will go on for many years to come.

As a POW, John endured the worst of what human beings can do to one another. In politics, he fell short of his greatest ambition. At the end of his life he faced a cruel and relentless disease. And yet through it all he never lost sight of what he believed most: Country First. And the spirit that drove him was never extinguished: we are here to commit ourselves to something bigger than ourselves.

John was many things – a proud graduate of the Naval Academy, a Senate colleague, a political opponent. But, to me, more than anything, John was a friend.

America will miss John McCain. The world will miss John McCain. And I will miss him dearly.

On behalf of myself, Jill, and the entire Biden family, our sincerest condolences go out to Cindy, Doug, Andy, Sidney, Meghan, Jack, Jimmy, Bridget, and the entire McCain family.

Former Governor of Alaska and McCain’s running mate as nominee for vice president Sarah Palin

Today we lost an American original.

Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life – and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self.

John McCain was my friend. I will remember the good times.

My family and I send prayers for Cindy and the McCain family.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers

John McCain was the embodiment of honor and service. He once wrote that ‘Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you.’ There is, perhaps, no better sentence than that to sum up his illustrious life. John simply did not live a day on this Earth in service to himself. And, because of that life, our country is a better place.

John McCain is a hero and role model to me. He will be deeply missed.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

We mourn the passing of a true American patriot, Senator John McCain,” said Chairwoman McDaniel. “Senator McCain dedicated his life to serving his country, both during his time in Congress and in combat in the U.S. Navy. He was an advocate for American leadership in the world and a tireless champion of our nation’s troops and veterans. We at the RNC are praying for the entire McCain family at this difficult time.

Governor of Arizona Doug Ducey

Here’s how his Senate colleagues and others reacted to news of his passing:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Today is a deeply sad day for the Senate and for our nation. Elaine and I join all Americans in mourning the passing of our dear friend and colleague Senator John McCain.

In an era filled with cynicism about national unity and public service, John McCain’s life shone as a bright example. He showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or clichés, but the building blocks of an extraordinary American life.

Generations of McCains have served in our great Navy. John followed their example with distinction. And from his cell in Hanoi to the halls of the Senate, he never stopped fighting with courage and determination – first for his country, then for the people of Arizona, and always for the ideals he believed in most.

It is fitting that this war hero and history-changing legislator should leave us as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. John was a constant advocate for his fellow veterans and those currently serving in uniform, standing up for the benefits and care they so earned by defending our freedom. His dedication to them is just one reason among so many why he earned the utmost respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

It’s an understatement to say the Senate will not be the same without our friend John. I will treasure the many memories we’ve shared together through the years.

The nation mourns the loss of a great American patriot, a statesman who put his country first and enriched this institution through many years of service. The Senate is keeping Cindy, the McCain family, all John’s friends and staff, and the people of Arizona in our prayers at this tremendously difficult time.

Sen. Chuck Schumer

As you go through life, you meet few truly great people. John McCain was one of them. His dedication to his country and the military were unsurpassed, and maybe most of all, he was a truth teller – never afraid to speak truth to power in an era where that has become all too rare. The Senate, the United States, and the world are lesser places without John McCain.

Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain, but so that generations remember him I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

This is a sad day for the United States. Our country has lost a decorated war hero and statesman. John McCain was a giant of our time—not just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life. John put principle before politics. He put country before self. He was one of the most courageous men of the century. He will always be listed among freedom’s most gallant and faithful servants. Our hearts are with his wife, Cindy, his children, and his grandchildren. This Congress, this country mourn with them.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Great nations require great sacrifices by their leaders. Few have made a greater sacrifice for their country than Senator John McCain. McCain emerged bloody but unbowed from years of torture in North Vietnam. He has shown the same resiliency in his subsequent years of public service, and lately in his battle against cancer.

In the past, I have had the privilege to work with Senator McCain on legislation to protect our nation’s aerospace industry and ensure we do not rely on foreign powers to travel to the stars. In this instance, as in every decision he made as a statesman, Senator McCain was guided by a belief that America is a force for good in the world so long as we stick firmly to our principles.

I am praying for Senator McCain and his family. Let us use this moment to remember a man worthy of our respect and imitation.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

The nation is in tears. Today, with the passing of John McCain, Congress and America have lost a leader and public servant of deep patriotism, outstanding bravery and undaunted spirit. Compelled by his unshakeable faith and deep love of country, he dedicated his life to defending both America and the American idea – fighting tirelessly to ensure that our nation always remains a land of justice, freedom and hope.

Over the course of John McCain’s years of distinguished service, whether as a naval officer, Member of Congress, U.S. Senator or presidential candidate, we all saw firsthand his integrity, humility, courage and grace. He never forgot the great duty he felt to care for our nation’s heroes, dedicating his spirit and energy to ensuring that no man or woman in uniform was left behind on the battlefield or once they returned home.

Paul and I join with all Americans in mourning the loss of this extraordinary national hero. May it be a comfort to his wife, Cindy, and his beloved children, Douglas, Andrew, Sidney, Meghan, John, James and Bridget, and his beautiful mother, Roberta, that so many people in America and around with the world mourn with them and pray for them during this sad time.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow

John McCain was a true American hero. He served our country bravely on the battlefield and in public service. His independent spirit and his dedication to doing what is right will be greatly missed. My prayers are with Cindy and the McCain family during this very difficult time.

DNC Chair Tom Perez

“John McCain devoted his life to serving his country. He was and always will be an American hero, and the U.S. Senate will not be the same without him.

“It was his profound sense of moral duty, not partisan party politics, that guided his decisions as a legislator and a leader. From strengthening our military to fighting for immigration reform, Senator McCain was always willing and eager to reach across the aisle to get things done for his constituents and the American people.

“Senator McCain once said, ‘Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.’ Whether it was fighting alongside his fellow soldiers in Vietnam or standing up for his values on the Senate floor, John McCain never quit. He never surrendered or hid from history. He made history, and our nation will be forever grateful for his service.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends and colleagues in the Senate, and the people of Arizona as we mourn his passing and celebrate his life.”

Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Susan Collins

Sen. Marco Rubio

John McCain’s sacrifices to his country are immeasurable. With his passing today, America has lost more than a leader and more than a senator. We have lost a true American hero. As a colleague in the Senate and a friend, I drew personal inspiration from his leadership, intellect and moral courage. He set the standard for what we should expect from our soldiers and from our public servants of all levels. In this time of grief, I hope John’s family finds comfort in knowing that this extraordinary man touched countless lives, and his memory will continue to set the standard of leadership and moral resolve for future generations.

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Former Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Orrin Hatch

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono

We mourn the passing of a great American and human being, John McCain. He fought many battles, met many extraordinary challenges, and faced the end with the courage he exemplified throughout his life. And yet, the end came too soon.

Much will be said and written about John McCain over the days and months ahead, all paying tribute to this grand patriot. All of us who had the privilege of serving with Senator McCain have our personal stories and memories. He was my chairman and I will miss him.

My heartfelt condolences to Cindy McCain, his children, grandchildren and the entire McCain ohana.

Sen. Ben Sasse

Our nation aches for truth-tellers. This man will be greatly missed.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

With love and respect, I mark the passing of a great man, and I will miss him dearly. My heart goes out to Cindy and the entire McCain family.

Attorney Michael Avenatti

Illinois leaders

Sen. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill. Statement on Passing of John McCain

“My heart is heavy today as I join countless Americans across our country in mourning the loss of one of our nation’s greatest leaders and statesmen, one of my personal heroes, Senator John McCain. Throughout his life – as a Naval Aviator, a Prisoner of War who endured years of torture, a Congressman, and a six-term Senator – John repeatedly showed how anything is possible when armed with determination, a deep sense of patriotism and an unbreakable will.

“His refusal to give up in the face of adversity inspired me when I was a mission-less helicopter pilot with no legs recovering at Walter Reed. In fact, I met him there for the first time when he visited us Wounded Warriors. He joked that he and I both flew into a missile and that didn’t take much skill. It’s what you do afterwards that matters. His unyielding optimism showed me there was a way to continue serving my country and to advance the core values of the nation that we both fought to protect. His integrity and commitment to putting country above all else as an elected official is an example I have tried to embrace during the comparatively short time I have had the honor of holding political office.

“I will forever treasure the privilege of working with John McCain in the Senate—even if it was only for a short time—and I will be forever grateful for the sacrifices he made in service to the greatest country the world has ever known. I hope the heights he reached and the life he led can be a lesson to us all about the power of perseverance and the ability of every American to overcome any challenge and make our country a better place.”

Sen. Dick Durbin

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Rep. Bobby L. Rush

Today, the nation lost not only an American hero but a political force and icon. Senator McCain made extraordinary sacrifices for our country and served all of us with honor, dignity, and respect. His love of country and selfless sacrifice on behalf of our nation is one of the greatest examples of public service. He will forever be remembered as a true patriot who never surrendered his sense of decency for political expediency. His contributions to the nation and to the world are immeasurable. Senator McCain was the definition of a maverick who always put country first. His leadership, bravery, independence, and patriotism are his legacy and something we can all aspire to. On behalf of my wife, Paulette, and the residents of the 1st Congressional District of Illinois, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, staff, and the country he so dearly loved. May this American hero rest in peace.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Today we lost a great citizen and a great patriot. Sen. John McCain was an authentic American hero, a straight shooter. There was nothing fake about him. He showed us how to live and how to suffer with dignity.

While the Arizona Republican and I did not often agree politically, we always saw eye-to-eye on our undying passion and love for our country.

Sen. McCain was a man of courage, integrity and grit. A maverick with a sense of humor and theater. In the 2000 presidential campaign, he took the media on a joyful ride aboard his Straight Talk Express. Last year, he delayed his cancer treatment to cast a dramatic, 2 a.m. “no” vote that stopped his party’s effort to kill the Affordable Care Act.

“In the arena” was a phrase he liked to use, and the arena was where he lived his life. Sen. McCain and his family devoted their lives to national military and public service.