Washington D.C. gathered Friday to pay its respects to “generational leader” John McCain as the veteran senator’s casket arrived to lie in state under the Capitol rotunda — with political leaders paying tribute to McCain’s service to the country in both the military and in Congress.
McCain, who died Saturday at 81 after a fight with brain cancer, was honored by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Vice President Mike Pence.
With members of McCain’s family in attendance, Pence said Americans “marveled at the iron will of John McCain” and praised him for holding fast “to his faith in America through six decades of service.”
“On behalf of a grateful nation, we will ever remember that John McCain served his country and John McCain served his country honorably.’
“Generations of Americans will continue to marvel at the man who lies before us, the cocky, handsome naval aviator who barely scraped through school, and then fought for freedom in the skies; who witnessed to our highest values, even through terrible torture; and who became a generational leader in the United States Senate, where our nation airs its great debates,” McConnell said.
Ryan said that “though the highest office eluded him, he attained what is far more enduring, the abiding affection of his fellow citizens and an example for future generations.”
McCain will lie in state throughout the day under the rotunda, where a public visitation will also be held.
On Saturday, McCain’s casket will move to Washington National Cathedral for a funeral service. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will speak. President Trump, who had publicly feuded with McCain, is not expected to attend.
Tributes have poured in from both sides of the aisle for the Republican senator and 2008 presidential nominee. On Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden remembered McCain as a brother, and said the two were “cockeyed optimists” in a memorial service for McCain at a church in Phoenix.
Biden, a Democrat, declared that McCain’s “legacy is going to continue to inspire generations.”
“John McCain’s impact on America is not over,” Biden said. “It is not hyperbole. It is not over. I don’t think it’s even close.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.