After attending the Washington memorial service for the late U.S. Sen. John McCain on Saturday, his fellow senator from Arizona sent out a tweet with a not-so-subtle message.
“Decency Wins,” Flake tweeted, along with a broadcast image showing the past three U.S. presidents and two of their wives.
Flake’s barb was aimed at current President Donald Trump, a longtime critic of McCain, who was one of the few of the nation’s political elite who had not been invited to the memorial service at Washington National Cathedral.
Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush eulogized McCain, and former President Bill Clinton also attended the service.
Many of the speakers praised McCain’s civility and bipartisanship, along with his sacrifice and service to the country.
Meghan McCain’s tribute to her beloved father included some thinly veiled critiques of Trump, a man with whom her father had feuded over policy and a man who had denigrated her father’s military service.
“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great,” Meghan McCain said from the lectern at the Saturday service, carried live on national news and broadcast networks.
She took a handful of jabs at Trump and his campaign motto, all without mentioning him by name.
Meghan McCain shows her father’s spirit in beautiful, poignant and scathing tribute to him, at times displaying the defiance that came to define him.
During his presidential campaign, Trump said McCain was “not a war hero” even though he had spent more than five years as a POW in Vietnam. “I like people that weren’t captured,” Trump said.
In defiance of Trump, McCain had cast a deciding vote last year against a final effort for a “skinny repeal” of the nation’s Affordable Care Act.
Trump also was slow to issue a statement after McCain’s death.
Flake also has exchanged insults with Trump frequently, on the Senate floor and in other public forums.
Flake’s overarching theme has been that Trump’s behavior cannot be normalized.
“We must turn away from this brand of poisonous politics, the kind of poison that has the president slinging insults like a bad comic at a cheap roast,” Flake said in a speech in New Hampshire in March. “Yes, the pendulum swings, thank goodness, and the people themselves will show us the way out of here. If this sounds like a call to new politics, it is. But it is just as much a call to the old politics, the best traditions of America, of true leadership and vision, of Lincoln’s malice toward none and charity for all.
“… Let’s take the high ground again.”
Sen. Jeff Flake delivered the benediction at a ceremony for Sen. John McCain at the Arizona state Capitol on Aug. 29, 2018.
Associated Press, Arizona Republic
Flake also has emphasized the ideal of country over political party.
In October, Flake abandoned his 2018 re-election campaign after concluding he was so out of step with the pro-Trump voters who dominate Arizona’s Republican primary that winning renomination for the Senate would be difficult if not impossible.
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