POLITICS
05/06/2018 10:46 am ET Updated May 06, 2018

McCain Doesn't Want Trump Attending His Funeral: Reports

The White House has been asked to send Vice President Mike Pence instead.

Amid Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) battle with brain cancer, the 81-year-old reportedly wants President Donald Trump to stay away from his funeral.

Friends of the Vietnam war veteran and 2008 presidential candidate, who has had a rocky relationship with Trump, asked the White House that they send Vice President Mike Pence instead, The New York Times and NBC News reported on Saturday.

The service is planned for Washington’s National Cathedral and will have eulogies read by former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, a source close to McCain told NBC News.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is seen last summer after having surgery to combat an aggressive form of brain cancer. McCain
Aaron Bernstein / Reuters
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is seen last summer after having surgery to combat an aggressive form of brain cancer. McCain has said he doesn't know how much time he has left.

McCain has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer since being diagnosed with the disease in July. He is recovering at his Sedona, Arizona, home after undergoing surgery for an intestinal infection last month.

“I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here,” McCain said in an excerpt released last week from his upcoming memoir, “The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and other Appreciations.” 

“Maybe I’ll be gone before you hear this,” he said in an audio recording of the excerpt. “My predicament is, well, rather unpredictable. But I’m prepared for either contingency, or at least I’m getting prepared.”

His son-in-law, Ben Domenech, reportedly said last week that McCain hugged him and asked him to “take care” of his daughter, Meghan. The couple married in November.

Grant Woods, McCain’s friend and former chief of staff, told the Times that though McCain is receiving a lot of visitors, no one is actually saying goodbye, given that the senator doesn’t like “overt sentimentality,” he said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was among the recent visitors. The two men served together in the Senate, and McCain reportedly encouraged Biden to stay in politics. Biden, 75, has been rumored to be considering a run for the White House in 2020.

Sen. McCain is seen in October before being awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal by former Vice President Joe Biden in Philadelphia
Charles Mostoller / Reuters
Sen. McCain is seen in October before being awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal by former Vice President Joe Biden in Philadelphia. Biden was one of McCain's recent visitors in Arizona.

It’s no secret that McCain and Trump have repeatedly butted heads, particularly in recent years.

In 2015, Trump dismissed McCain’s heroism in the Vietnam War, saying he is “not a war hero” because he was “captured.” McCain, a Navy pilot, was repeatedly tortured during the more than five years he was held captive in North Vietnam. He said last fall that Trump never apologized for his insulting remark.

McCain also famously shot down his own party’s attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last year. Trump, who had pushed hard for the repeal bill, called McCain’s move “totally unexpected” and “honestly terrible.”

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