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Senator John McCain Remembered for Courage, Service, Patriotism

U.S. Senator John McCain is being remembered for his courage, patriotism and service to his country.

McCain died Saturday at age 81 after a battle with brain cancer.

President Donald Trump tweeted, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

His campaign later issued a statement offering condolences and “urging all Americans to take the opportunity to remember Senator McCain and his family in their prayers on this sad occasion.”

The White House lowered the flag to half-staff in honor of McCain.

Leaders from around the world paid tribute to McCain . German Chancellor Angela Merkel called McCain “a tireless fighter for a strong trans-Atlantic alliance; his significance went well beyond his own country.” French President Emmanuel Macron called McCain “a true American hero.”

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “Karen and I are praying for Senator John McCain, Cindy and their family this weekend. May God bless them all during this difficult time.”

​Former presidents

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama issued a statement sending their “heartfelt condolences” to McCain’s wife, Cindy and their family.

Obama, who ran against the Republican senator in the 2008 presidential election and won, noted how despite their different generations, backgrounds and politics, “we saw this country as a place where anything is possible.”

Former President Bill Clinton and former Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, who served with McCain in the U.S. Senate, said in a statement that 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.”

Former President George W. Bush called McCain a friend he will “deeply miss.”

“Some lives are so vivid, it’s difficult to imagine them ended,” Bush said in a statement. “Some voices are so vibrant, it’s hard to think of them stilled.”

As he planned for the end of his life, McCain had requested Obama and Bush deliver eulogies at his funeral.

McCain’s body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington as well in the capital of his home state, Phoenix.  A full dress funeral is planned at the Washington National Cathedral and his burial will be in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, called McCain “a patriot of the highest order, a public servant of rarest courage.”

“Few sacrificed more for, or contributed more to, the welfare of his fellow citizens — and indeed freedom-loving peoples around the world,” the elder Bush said in a statement.​

Former President Jimmy Carter called McCain “a man of honor, a true patriot in the best sense of the word.”

​Military career

The son of a U.S. admiral, McCain became a Navy aviator and flew bombing missions during the Vietnam War. Shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese in 1967, he endured more than five years of torture and depravation as a prisoner of war.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Vietnam POW “showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or cliches, but the building blocks of an extraordinary life.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the McCain’s death marks a “sad day for the United States,” which has lost a “decorated war hero and statesman.”

“John put principle before politics. He put country before self,” Ryan said. “He was one of the most courageous men of the century.”

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the “nation is in tears” and noted McCain’s “deep patriotism, outstanding bravery and undaunted spirit.”

“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,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who served with the senator in Congress and is a fellow Vietnam War veteran, noted their differing views of the war and recalled a trip back to Hanoi with McCain, where the two “found common ground.”

“If you ever needed to take the measure of John McCain, just count the days and years he spent in that tiny dank place and ask yourself whether you could make it there an hour,” Kerry said in a statement. “John always said ‘a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed.’ He loved to debate and disagree. But one thing John always believed was that at some point, America’s got to come together.”

McCain’s death Saturday also drew condolences from foreign leaders, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani calling the U.S. lawmaker a great friend of the South Asian country.

“We will remember his dedication and support towards rebuilding AFG,” Ghani tweeted.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also offered condolences.

“People of India join me in sincerely condoling the loss of a steadfast friend,” Modi tweeted. “His statesmanship, courage, conviction and understanding of global affairs will be missed.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called McCain “an American patriot and hero whose sacrifices for his country, and lifetime of public service, were an inspiration to millions.”

​VOA’s White House correspondent Steve Herman contributed to this report.

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Senator John McCain Remembered for Courage, Service, Patriotism

U.S. Senator John McCain is being remembered for his courage, patriotism and service to his country.

McCain died Saturday at age 81 after a battle with brain cancer.

President Donald Trump tweeted, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

His campaign later issued a statement offering condolences and “urging all Americans to take the opportunity to remember Senator McCain and his family in their prayers on this sad occasion.”

The White House lowered the flag to half-staff in honor of McCain.

Leaders from around the world paid tribute to McCain . German Chancellor Angela Merkel called McCain “a tireless fighter for a strong trans-Atlantic alliance; his significance went well beyond his own country.” French President Emmanuel Macron called McCain “a true American hero.”

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “Karen and I are praying for Senator John McCain, Cindy and their family this weekend. May God bless them all during this difficult time.”

​Former presidents

Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama issued a statement sending their “heartfelt condolences” to McCain’s wife, Cindy and their family.

Obama, who ran against the Republican senator in the 2008 presidential election and won, noted how despite their different generations, backgrounds and politics, “we saw this country as a place where anything is possible.”

Former President Bill Clinton and former Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, who served with McCain in the U.S. Senate, said in a statement that 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.”

Former President George W. Bush called McCain a friend he will “deeply miss.”

“Some lives are so vivid, it’s difficult to imagine them ended,” Bush said in a statement. “Some voices are so vibrant, it’s hard to think of them stilled.”

As he planned for the end of his life, McCain had requested Obama and Bush deliver eulogies at his funeral.

McCain’s body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington as well in the capital of his home state, Phoenix.  A full dress funeral is planned at the Washington National Cathedral and his burial will be in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, called McCain “a patriot of the highest order, a public servant of rarest courage.”

“Few sacrificed more for, or contributed more to, the welfare of his fellow citizens — and indeed freedom-loving peoples around the world,” the elder Bush said in a statement.​

Former President Jimmy Carter called McCain “a man of honor, a true patriot in the best sense of the word.”

​Military career

The son of a U.S. admiral, McCain became a Navy aviator and flew bombing missions during the Vietnam War. Shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese in 1967, he endured more than five years of torture and depravation as a prisoner of war.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Vietnam POW “showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or cliches, but the building blocks of an extraordinary life.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the McCain’s death marks a “sad day for the United States,” which has lost a “decorated war hero and statesman.”

“John put principle before politics. He put country before self,” Ryan said. “He was one of the most courageous men of the century.”

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the “nation is in tears” and noted McCain’s “deep patriotism, outstanding bravery and undaunted spirit.”

“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,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who served with the senator in Congress and is a fellow Vietnam War veteran, noted their differing views of the war and recalled a trip back to Hanoi with McCain, where the two “found common ground.”

“If you ever needed to take the measure of John McCain, just count the days and years he spent in that tiny dank place and ask yourself whether you could make it there an hour,” Kerry said in a statement. “John always said ‘a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed.’ He loved to debate and disagree. But one thing John always believed was that at some point, America’s got to come together.”

McCain’s death Saturday also drew condolences from foreign leaders, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani calling the U.S. lawmaker a great friend of the South Asian country.

“We will remember his dedication and support towards rebuilding AFG,” Ghani tweeted.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also offered condolences.

“People of India join me in sincerely condoling the loss of a steadfast friend,” Modi tweeted. “His statesmanship, courage, conviction and understanding of global affairs will be missed.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called McCain “an American patriot and hero whose sacrifices for his country, and lifetime of public service, were an inspiration to millions.”

​VOA’s White House correspondent Steve Herman contributed to this report.

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Money and Loyalty: Inside the Dramatic Trump-Cohen Rift

For Michael Cohen and Donald Trump, it’s always been about money and loyalty.

Those were guiding principles for Cohen when he served as more than just a lawyer for Trump during the developer’s rise from celebrity to president-elect. Cohen brokered deals for the Trump Organization, profited handsomely from a side venture into New York City’s real estate and taxi industries and worked to make unflattering stories about Trump disappear.

Money and loyalty also drove Cohen to make guilty pleas this past week in a spinoff from the swirling investigations battering the Trump White House.

Feeling abandoned by Trump and in dire financial straits, the man who once famously declared that he would “take a bullet” for Trump now is pledging loyalty to his own family and actively seeking to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The unraveling of their relationship was laid bare Tuesday when Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges and said in federal court that he broke campaign finance laws as part of a cover-up operation that Trump had directed.

In the days after Cohen’s guilty plea, two close associates, the magazine boss who helped him squash bad stories and the top financial man at the president’s business, have been granted immunity for their cooperation. These moves could have a ripple effect on the legal fortunes of Cohen and, perhaps, Trump.

​A fixture in Trump’s orbit

Working alongside Trump and Trump’s three adult children — Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric — in Trump Tower, Cohen took on a number of roles for the developer, including emissary for projects in foreign capitals and enforcer of Trump’s will. At times a bully for a family-run business, Cohen was known for his hot temper as he strong-armed city workers, reluctant business partners and reporters.

He was there in the lobby of Trump Tower in June 2015 when his boss descended an escalator and changed history by declaring his candidacy for president. But Cohen’s place in Trump’s political life ended up being peripheral.

Cohen did become a reliable surrogate on cable TV — he created a viral moment by repeating “Says who?” when told Trump was down in the polls — and founded the candidate’s faith-based organization. But Cohen was never given a prominent spot in the campaign.

And despite telling confidants that he thought he had a shot at White House chief of staff after the election, Cohen was never given a West Wing job. He remained in New York when Trump moved to Washington.

Cohen found ways to profit from the arrangement, making millions from corporations by selling access to Trump, but felt adrift and isolated from Trump, according to two people familiar with his thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.

Federal agents arrive

But early one April morning, more than three dozen federal agents raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.

A chief focus for investigators was Cohen’s role in making payments during Trump’s campaign to women who claimed they had sex with Trump, and whether campaign finance laws were violated. In the fall of 2016, weeks before the election, Cohen had set up a limited liability company in Delaware to hide the deal he made to silence the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels about an affair she said she had with Trump.

Worry grew within the White House about what had been seized. That April day, Trump berated the raid as “an attack on all we stand for.” But then, in a Fox & Friends interview, Trump began to dramatically play down his relationship with Cohen.

“I have nothing to do with his business,” Trump said, asserting that Cohen was just one of many lawyers and was responsible for “a tiny, tiny fraction” of Trump’s legal work.

Relationship frays

A dispute soon broke out between Cohen and Trump over who would pay the former fixer’s mounting legal bills. Holed up in a Park Avenue hotel after his apartment flooded, Cohen began to worry about his financial future, according to the two people.

By all appearances, Cohen’s lifestyle was lavish.

He bought a $6.7 million Manhattan apartment last fall, though the sale didn’t close until April and no one could move in until the summer. With bills piling up for his team of expensive lawyers, the suddenly unemployed Cohen began to tell confidants that he was worried about his job prospects and ability to support his family.

Meanwhile, the broadsides from the White House kept coming.

Trump and Cohen had long stopped speaking, but word would get back to the lawyer that the president was belittling him. The president’s attorney and frequent attack dog Rudy Giuliani went from calling Cohen “an honest, honorable lawyer” in May to deriding him as a “pathological liar” in July.

Cohen began wondering to friends whether loyalty with Trump had become a one-way street, the people said.

Cohen strikes back

Eager to hit back and attempt to regain some hold on the story, Cohen hired Lanny Davis, a former Bill Clinton attorney, to be his public relations lawyer. Davis began striking back at the White House and lobbed a clear warning shot at the president when he released a secret recording of a conversation in which Trump appears to have knowledge about hush-money payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also alleged an affair with the developer.

Cohen was embraced by the cable news networks as an irresistible foil to Trump. Some on the left styled him as a star of the resistance. Cohen’s camp made some effort to play into the role, reaching out to Watergate whistleblower John Dean and, after Cohen’s plea, establishing an online fundraising tool that seemed to predominantly receive backing from liberals.

Cohen, who could get about four years to five years in prison, is to be sentenced Dec. 12.

Davis has strongly telegraphed that Cohen is willing to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. But a deal has yet to be struck and there are doubts about what Cohen can prove or whether the special counsel would want to rely on an untrustworthy witness.

Cohen has stayed out of sight and has remained emotional since his plea, according to the people close to him.

The attacks from Trump have continued.

“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

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Money and Loyalty: Inside the Dramatic Trump-Cohen Rift

For Michael Cohen and Donald Trump, it’s always been about money and loyalty.

Those were guiding principles for Cohen when he served as more than just a lawyer for Trump during the developer’s rise from celebrity to president-elect. Cohen brokered deals for the Trump Organization, profited handsomely from a side venture into New York City’s real estate and taxi industries and worked to make unflattering stories about Trump disappear.

Money and loyalty also drove Cohen to make guilty pleas this past week in a spinoff from the swirling investigations battering the Trump White House.

Feeling abandoned by Trump and in dire financial straits, the man who once famously declared that he would “take a bullet” for Trump now is pledging loyalty to his own family and actively seeking to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The unraveling of their relationship was laid bare Tuesday when Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges and said in federal court that he broke campaign finance laws as part of a cover-up operation that Trump had directed.

In the days after Cohen’s guilty plea, two close associates, the magazine boss who helped him squash bad stories and the top financial man at the president’s business, have been granted immunity for their cooperation. These moves could have a ripple effect on the legal fortunes of Cohen and, perhaps, Trump.

​A fixture in Trump’s orbit

Working alongside Trump and Trump’s three adult children — Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric — in Trump Tower, Cohen took on a number of roles for the developer, including emissary for projects in foreign capitals and enforcer of Trump’s will. At times a bully for a family-run business, Cohen was known for his hot temper as he strong-armed city workers, reluctant business partners and reporters.

He was there in the lobby of Trump Tower in June 2015 when his boss descended an escalator and changed history by declaring his candidacy for president. But Cohen’s place in Trump’s political life ended up being peripheral.

Cohen did become a reliable surrogate on cable TV — he created a viral moment by repeating “Says who?” when told Trump was down in the polls — and founded the candidate’s faith-based organization. But Cohen was never given a prominent spot in the campaign.

And despite telling confidants that he thought he had a shot at White House chief of staff after the election, Cohen was never given a West Wing job. He remained in New York when Trump moved to Washington.

Cohen found ways to profit from the arrangement, making millions from corporations by selling access to Trump, but felt adrift and isolated from Trump, according to two people familiar with his thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.

Federal agents arrive

But early one April morning, more than three dozen federal agents raided Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.

A chief focus for investigators was Cohen’s role in making payments during Trump’s campaign to women who claimed they had sex with Trump, and whether campaign finance laws were violated. In the fall of 2016, weeks before the election, Cohen had set up a limited liability company in Delaware to hide the deal he made to silence the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels about an affair she said she had with Trump.

Worry grew within the White House about what had been seized. That April day, Trump berated the raid as “an attack on all we stand for.” But then, in a Fox & Friends interview, Trump began to dramatically play down his relationship with Cohen.

“I have nothing to do with his business,” Trump said, asserting that Cohen was just one of many lawyers and was responsible for “a tiny, tiny fraction” of Trump’s legal work.

Relationship frays

A dispute soon broke out between Cohen and Trump over who would pay the former fixer’s mounting legal bills. Holed up in a Park Avenue hotel after his apartment flooded, Cohen began to worry about his financial future, according to the two people.

By all appearances, Cohen’s lifestyle was lavish.

He bought a $6.7 million Manhattan apartment last fall, though the sale didn’t close until April and no one could move in until the summer. With bills piling up for his team of expensive lawyers, the suddenly unemployed Cohen began to tell confidants that he was worried about his job prospects and ability to support his family.

Meanwhile, the broadsides from the White House kept coming.

Trump and Cohen had long stopped speaking, but word would get back to the lawyer that the president was belittling him. The president’s attorney and frequent attack dog Rudy Giuliani went from calling Cohen “an honest, honorable lawyer” in May to deriding him as a “pathological liar” in July.

Cohen began wondering to friends whether loyalty with Trump had become a one-way street, the people said.

Cohen strikes back

Eager to hit back and attempt to regain some hold on the story, Cohen hired Lanny Davis, a former Bill Clinton attorney, to be his public relations lawyer. Davis began striking back at the White House and lobbed a clear warning shot at the president when he released a secret recording of a conversation in which Trump appears to have knowledge about hush-money payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also alleged an affair with the developer.

Cohen was embraced by the cable news networks as an irresistible foil to Trump. Some on the left styled him as a star of the resistance. Cohen’s camp made some effort to play into the role, reaching out to Watergate whistleblower John Dean and, after Cohen’s plea, establishing an online fundraising tool that seemed to predominantly receive backing from liberals.

Cohen, who could get about four years to five years in prison, is to be sentenced Dec. 12.

Davis has strongly telegraphed that Cohen is willing to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. But a deal has yet to be struck and there are doubts about what Cohen can prove or whether the special counsel would want to rely on an untrustworthy witness.

Cohen has stayed out of sight and has remained emotional since his plea, according to the people close to him.

The attacks from Trump have continued.

“If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

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US Senator, War Hero John McCain Has Died

U.S. Senator John McCain died Saturday at age 81 after a battle with brain cancer that robbed America of a revered statesman, proud patriot, and self-sacrificing warrior.

His daughter, Meghan McCain, released a statement.

Shortly after McCain’s death was announced, President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences.

Best known for having survived as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, John Sidney McCain remained an ardent and unapologetic believer in American exceptionalism.

“We are blessed. We are living in the land of the free, the land where anything is possible,” McCain said in October, months after his cancer diagnosis, at the National Constitution Center, where he received the Liberty Medal. “We are blessed, and we have been a blessing to humanity in turn.”

In the same speech, he also warned of the perils he saw in the era of President Donald Trump.

“To refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain the last best hope of earth for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history,” the senator said.

“John McCain represented public service,” American University political historian Allan Lichtman said. “He was a genuine American hero, not a phony, hyped-up media hero.”

In Photos: John McCain

Military family

The son of a U.S. admiral, McCain became a Navy aviator and flew bombing missions during the Vietnam War. Shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese in 1967, he endured more than five years of torture and depravation as a prisoner of war.

Decades later, as a Republican senator, McCain would return to Vietnam and champion the restoration of ties between Washington and Hanoi and, as he told VOA, leave the past behind.

“Look, there are some individuals that mistreated me in prison, and I hope I never see them again,” he said. “But, that does not change my opinion that the Vietnamese people are wonderful and dear friends, and we need them and they need us.”

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, McCain decried torture tactics against terror suspects while backing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“John McCain’s weakness over the years was [that] he was perhaps too willing to seek a military solution to problems,” political historian Lichtman said. “Some of his critics even called him a war monger. But it [military intervention] was something he genuinely believed in, not something he cooked up for political purposes.”

Gracious in political battle

On Capitol Hill, McCain was known for a short temper and a sharp tongue.

“Get out of here you low-life scum,” McCain once growled at anti-war protesters who were disrupting a Senate committee hearing.

The senator also displayed graciousness in the heat of political battle. McCain ran twice for president as an independent-minded Republican, securing his party’s nomination in 2008. On the campaign trail, he defended his democratic opponent, Barack Obama.

“He’s an Arab,” one woman declared of Obama at a McCain town hall campaign event one month before the election.

McCain took the microphone from her and said, “No, ma’am. He is a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with.”

Return to the Senate

McCain lost the presidential contest but returned to the Senate, where he continued to advocate robust U.S. engagement around the world and a strong U.S. military as chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee.

He did not respond when then-candidate Trump questioned his war hero status.

“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said on national television in July 2015. “I like people that were not captured, OK? I hate to tell you.”

McCain did, however, become a persistent critic of Trump’s governing style and policies, as well as hyper-partisanship in Washington, culminating with a decisive vote scuttling a Republican health care plan President Trump had championed. In December, he was the lone senator not to cast a vote on final passage of the Republican tax overhaul, returning Arizona to rest after cancer treatment.

Liked on both sides of aisle

McCain was revered by Democrats and Republicans alike.

“Courage and loyalty,” former vice president Joe Biden said in introductory remarks at the National Constitution Center. “I can think of no better description of the man we are honoring tonight, my friend John McCain.”

“John McCain, perhaps above all other politicians of recent years, was willing to reach across the aisle to try to do things that were good for the country, like immigration reform, like campaign finance reform,” Lichtman said.

Many will mourn his passing, but McCain remained upbeat until the end.

“I am the luckiest guy on earth. I have served America’s cause,” he said.

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US Senator, War Hero John McCain Has Died

U.S. Senator John McCain died Saturday at age 81 after a battle with brain cancer that robbed America of a revered statesman, proud patriot, and self-sacrificing warrior.

His daughter, Meghan McCain, released a statement.

Shortly after McCain’s death was announced, President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences.

Best known for having survived as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, John Sidney McCain remained an ardent and unapologetic believer in American exceptionalism.

“We are blessed. We are living in the land of the free, the land where anything is possible,” McCain said in October, months after his cancer diagnosis, at the National Constitution Center, where he received the Liberty Medal. “We are blessed, and we have been a blessing to humanity in turn.”

In the same speech, he also warned of the perils he saw in the era of President Donald Trump.

“To refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain the last best hope of earth for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history,” the senator said.

“John McCain represented public service,” American University political historian Allan Lichtman said. “He was a genuine American hero, not a phony, hyped-up media hero.”

In Photos: John McCain

Military family

The son of a U.S. admiral, McCain became a Navy aviator and flew bombing missions during the Vietnam War. Shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese in 1967, he endured more than five years of torture and depravation as a prisoner of war.

Decades later, as a Republican senator, McCain would return to Vietnam and champion the restoration of ties between Washington and Hanoi and, as he told VOA, leave the past behind.

“Look, there are some individuals that mistreated me in prison, and I hope I never see them again,” he said. “But, that does not change my opinion that the Vietnamese people are wonderful and dear friends, and we need them and they need us.”

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, McCain decried torture tactics against terror suspects while backing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“John McCain’s weakness over the years was [that] he was perhaps too willing to seek a military solution to problems,” political historian Lichtman said. “Some of his critics even called him a war monger. But it [military intervention] was something he genuinely believed in, not something he cooked up for political purposes.”

Gracious in political battle

On Capitol Hill, McCain was known for a short temper and a sharp tongue.

“Get out of here you low-life scum,” McCain once growled at anti-war protesters who were disrupting a Senate committee hearing.

The senator also displayed graciousness in the heat of political battle. McCain ran twice for president as an independent-minded Republican, securing his party’s nomination in 2008. On the campaign trail, he defended his democratic opponent, Barack Obama.

“He’s an Arab,” one woman declared of Obama at a McCain town hall campaign event one month before the election.

McCain took the microphone from her and said, “No, ma’am. He is a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with.”

Return to the Senate

McCain lost the presidential contest but returned to the Senate, where he continued to advocate robust U.S. engagement around the world and a strong U.S. military as chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee.

He did not respond when then-candidate Trump questioned his war hero status.

“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said on national television in July 2015. “I like people that were not captured, OK? I hate to tell you.”

McCain did, however, become a persistent critic of Trump’s governing style and policies, as well as hyper-partisanship in Washington, culminating with a decisive vote scuttling a Republican health care plan President Trump had championed. In December, he was the lone senator not to cast a vote on final passage of the Republican tax overhaul, returning Arizona to rest after cancer treatment.

Liked on both sides of aisle

McCain was revered by Democrats and Republicans alike.

“Courage and loyalty,” former vice president Joe Biden said in introductory remarks at the National Constitution Center. “I can think of no better description of the man we are honoring tonight, my friend John McCain.”

“John McCain, perhaps above all other politicians of recent years, was willing to reach across the aisle to try to do things that were good for the country, like immigration reform, like campaign finance reform,” Lichtman said.

Many will mourn his passing, but McCain remained upbeat until the end.

“I am the luckiest guy on earth. I have served America’s cause,” he said.

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