Meghan McCain contrasts father’s legacy with Trump’s ‘cheap rhetoric’

John McCain: Obama and Bush to lead Washington service

The final public ceremony honouring late United States senator John McCain began Saturday in Washington, where eulogies by two former presidents will highlight the warrior politician's call for healing, but current commander-in-chief Donald Trump is notably absent.

And while Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama offered subtle swipes at the current commander in chief, McCain's daughter Meghan used the words of Trump's campaign slogan to deliver a searing, unmistakable rebuke.

Barack Obama, who defeated McCain in the 2008 USA presidential election, described the late Arizona Senator as "an extraordinary man, a warrior, a statesman and a patriot who "embodied much of what made America great".

The private ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland, was as carefully planned as the rest of McCain's farewell tour, which began in Arizona after he died August 25 from brain cancer and stretched to Washington.

"So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage", Obama said in a not-so-veiled nod to Trump.

The remarks from former Democratic and Republican presidents who were once rivals to McCain will send a message of unity and bipartisanship at a time when Washington is deeply divided.

Members of the military slowly carried McCain's coffin into the cathedral, past friends and loved ones who have counted among the top power players in U.S. politics for decades.

Sajjan said McCain always made time to speak to him and other Canadian officials at security conferences around the world and that McCain had built a "great relationship with Canada".

"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", McCain wrote in his farewell letter to the nation, read posthumously by a longtime aide.

Obama said Saturday he was "grateful, but I wasn't surprised" by McCain's response.

His family did not invite Trump to Saturday's service at the Washington National Cathedral, but key members of his administration were in attendance, including daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.

Before his passing, Larson reserved four plots of land - for him, John McCain and their spouses - near where they first met, at the U.S. Naval Academy's cemetery at Hospital Point, overlooking the Severn River. "But he also made me better", Bush said.

"John understood as JFK understood, as Ronald Reagan understood, that part of what makes our country great is that our membership is based not on our blood line, not on what we look like, what our last names are, not based on where our parents or grandparents came from or how recently they arrived, but on adherence to a common creed that all of us are created equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights", he added.

The late Arizona senator, who died of brain cancer at 81, had a strained relationship with Trump due to his disagreements with the president over many of his policies.

On Thursday, a memorial service was held in Phoenix and on Friday, a ceremony was held in the US Capitol, where McCain's body was lying in state.

President Donald Trump will not be attending the memorial service.

"He was a great man", Meghan, 33, said about her father at the service at the Washington National Cathedral.

They were set to continue at the nationally televised cathedral ceremony, a who's who of political Washington attended by the likes of dozens of congressional colleagues, Bill and Hillary Clinton, former vice presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney and former secretaries of state Madeline Albright, John Kerry and Henry Kissinger, who is to address the gathering.

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