The late US senator John McCain has taken a parting shot at President Donald Trump in his farewell letter to the nation, denouncing “tribal rivalries” and imploring citizens to focus on what unites.
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Rick Davis, a former presidential campaign manager for Senator McCain who is serving as a family spokesman, read the farewell message on Monday at a press briefing in Phoenix.
In the statement, Senator McCain reflected on the privilege of serving his country and said he tried to do so honourably. He also touched on today’s politics.
“We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe,” the statement read.
“We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been,” he added in an apparent reference to Mr Trump’s plans for a border wall.
“Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.
“Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.”
@FrankThorpeV: “Here is Senator McCain’s statemtent in full. It’s worth a read”
Senator McCain also expressed his deep gratitude and love of country.
“I lived and died a proud American. We are are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil,” he said.
Senator McCain died Saturday from an aggressive form of brain cancer at age 81.
Trump orders flags re-lowered for McCain
Senator McCain was a noted critic of Mr Trump, and the President’s response to Senator McCain’s death has been closely watched.
On Monday, for instance, flags at the White House were not lowered.
Two days after Senator McCain’s death, Mr Trump said he respected the senator’s “service to our country” and had signed a proclamation to fly the US flag at half-staff until his burial.
Mr Trump tweeted about Senator McCain after his death on Saturday but has passed up several chances to comment publicly on the Arizona senator.
Mr Trump said in a written statement that he had asked Vice-President Mike Pence to speak at a ceremony honouring Senator McCain at the Capitol on Friday.
@PressSec: Statement from the President
The President also said he had agreed to the McCain family’s request for military transportation of Senator McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington.
Mr Trump was not expected to attend any of the services that will take place over several days in Arizona and Washington.
When asked about Mr Trump’s response to Senator McCain’s death, Mr Davis said the family was choosing to focus on the outpouring of support from around the world instead of “what one person has done or said”.
“The entire focus of the McCain family is on John McCain,” Mr Davis said.
“There really is no room in the McCain family today to focus on anything but him.”