The United States paid last Saturday a tribute to “American hero” John McCain, during a national funeral in Washington concluding a week of ceremonies ostensibly ignored by President Donald Trump.
Former Democratic President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush have to succeed in pronouncing the funeral oration of the former Republican senator and former prisoner of war in Vietnam, known for his unconventionality and his ability to transgress the cleavages policies.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 95, and John McCain’s parliamentary friends are also due to speak at this office, which opened at 10:00 local time (1400 GMT) at Washington Cathedral, the seat of the Episcopal diocese. and one of the largest religious buildings in the country.
McCain said before his death that he did not want President Donald Trump to attend his funeral, as the two men never concealed their contempt for each other. No more than Sarah Palin, his populist running mate in the 2008 lost presidential election, a choice he said he regretted in his memoirs.
Donald Trump has delegated his closest associate, General John Kelly, as well as Defense Minister Jim Mattis and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The daughter and counselor of the president, Ivanka Trump, was however in the audience with her husband Jared Kushner. Former Democratic President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State John Kerry and Madeleine Albright, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and actress Annette Bening along with her husband Warren Beatty were also present.
– Turbulent and undisciplined –
Before the ceremony, his widow, Cindy McCain, laid a wreath in front of the memorial of the dead soldiers in Vietnam, on the National Mall. She was accompanied by Jim Mattis and John Kelly, both former soldiers.
Deceased on Aug. 25 at age 81 after a year fighting against brain cancer, McCain had meticulously prepared this week of tribute, first in Phoenix, Arizona, Washington, DC, and finally in Washington. Naval Academy Annapolis Cemetery (Maryland, Northeast) where he will be buried Sunday in family intimacy.
The former fighter pilot was in the 1950s a turbulent and undisciplined student of the Academy, already signaling himself by his unconventionality and outspokenness.
In the eyes of his friends, Republicans as Democrats, John McCain embodied a political tradition radically opposed to that of Donald Trump. “American hero”, son and grandson of admirals, he had been a prisoner and tortured during the Vietnam War, before starting a 35-year career in Congress.
“We shared, despite our differences, a fidelity to something higher, the ideals for which whole generations of Americans and immigrants fought and sacrificed themselves,” said Barack Obama, whose speech should be the highlight of the ceremonies.
Observers will scrutinize the tone of his remarks: more personal or otherwise political in a context of polarization and divisions of the country since the election of Donald Trump.
– “A grateful nation” –
John McCain was his opponent in his first successful election in 2008. He also saved his health care reform, the Obamacare, a dozen years later in the Senate, by voting against a reform project wanted by Donald Trump.
But it is more recently that he had shot his sharpest arrows against the current president, calling mid-July his controversial meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki “one of the worst moments in the history of the American presidency. “.
Russian historian and dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza will be one of the bearers of the coffin of John McCain, a great critic of the regime of Vladimir Putin.
On Friday already, Donald Trump was represented by Vice President Mike Pence for a tribute ceremony on Capitol Hill.
“The president has asked me to be here from a grateful nation,” said Mike Pence in his speech to the American Flag coffin.
This ceremony was also marked by the presence, dignified and stoic, of the mother of the senator, Roberta McCain, 106 years old. The Capitol said more than 10,000 people had come to bow before his remains.