The Slatest

McCain’s Friends Have Started Preparing for His Funeral—and Trump Isn’t Invited

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's wooden nameplate sits on the dais during a Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s wooden nameplate sits on the dais during a Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 21, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. John McCain’s closest friends and advisers are already getting ready for the inevitable.
Although no one is explicitly saying goodbye to the longtime Arizona senator who is battling brain cancer quite yet, he is receiving a stream of visitors at his home and their conversations often turn to reminiscing and “taking care of unfinished business,” the New York Times reports. Part of that involves planning for his funeral and his inner circle has let the White House know that as of now Vice President Mike Pence should be planning to attend the service that will be held in the National Cathedral in Washington rather than President Donald Trump.

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The decision isn’t too surprising considering Trump and McCain have clashed more than once. But it does come shortly after Trump didn’t attend former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral. Trump said he wanted to avoid disrupting the service but it was an open secret that the Bush family didn’t quite want the commander in chief there.

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The revelation about the early planning for McCain’s funeral comes as part of a larger Times story on how McCain, who is refusing to give on-the-record interviews, is spending his time at his beloved ranch. He is carrying out long physical therapy sessions—“and rewarding himself most days with a tall glass of Absolut Elyx on ice”—while continuing to lead conference calls with his staff. The senator is also taking a look back, having participated in an HBO documentary and co-writing what he has acknowledged will be his last book. McCain is critical of Trump in his book, and also of himself, expressing regret for not having selected former Sen. Joseph Lieberman to be his running mate rather than Sarah Palin. Lieberman said he didn’t know about his longtime friend’s regret until he watched the HBO documentary. “It touched me greatly,” he said.

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