A spokesman for Sen. John McCain, Rick Davis, has officially announced that President Donald Trump will not be attending McCain’s funeral.
When he was outlining the services in Phoenix and Washington, he mentioned that former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama would be speaking. But when asked about Trump, he said he would likely not be attending, The Washington Post reported. “The president will not be, as far as we know, attending the funeral. That’s just a fact,” Davis said.
Vice President Mike Pence will attend the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Trump’s place.
Yesterday, when asked about McCain’s funeral, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it wasn’t clear if Trump would attend or not, TMZ reported.
Trump’s lack of attendance isn’t a huge surprise. Back in May, a source close to McCain said that he did not want Trump at his funeral and would prefer that Pence come instead, NBC News reported. The two had an acrimonious relationship in the past, dating back to the 2016 Presidential campaign, when Trump spoke negatively about McCain’s capture as a POW. He said that McCain was not a war hero. “He’s a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said. “I like people that weren’t captured.” He later changed his tune slightly and said that “perhaps he’s a war hero” but only because he was captured, NBC News reported.
You can watch a video of Trump’s statement about McCain below:
Trump later spoke against McCain when McCain voted against a bill to repeal Obamacare.
This won’t be the first funeral that Trump has avoided recently. He also did not attend Barbara Bush’s funeral. There was speculation that this was because of acrimonious relations between Barbara Bush and Trump, but the White House’s official reason was that he was not attending so he would avoid disruptions and out of respect for the family. The White House said at the time: “First Lady Melania Trump will attend the memorial service for Barbara Bush this Saturday on behalf of the First Family. To avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family and friends attending the service, President Trump will not attend.”
Trump’s not attending McCain’s funeral is unusual. When Ted Kennedy passed away, for example, President Obama — who was the sitting President at the time — attended the funeral, along with former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are expected to deliver eulogies at McCain’s funeral in Washington D.C. Before his funeral, McCain is expected to lie in state at both the Capitol Rotunda and the Arizona Capital.