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John McCain: Outstanding US senator, Obama’s opponent, Trump critic, is dead

JOHN MaCain, United States’ Republican Senator, who ran against Barack Obama for the US presidency in 2008, is dead. He is aged 81.

McCain was a war hero, having survived five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He served in the US Congress for over 30 years.

Born in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone (then an unincorporated territory of the United States), where his father was stationed in the Navy, MaCain graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958, before setting off to Vietnam as a Naval aviator

In 1967, McCain was captured by the North Vietnamese after the fighter jet he was flying was hit by a  missile. He was tortured and beaten for the better part of the over five years he spent in captivity, two years of which he was kept in solitary confinement. Reports say his captors offered him an early release after learning that his father as a top ranking Naval officer, but MaCain refused the offer, insisting that other US prisoners of war being held alongside him should also be released. He was eventually released on March 14, 1973. The injuries he suffered while in captivity left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head

In 1982, McCain was elected to the House of Representatives, and in 1986, to the Senate, replacing Arizona’s conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater.

McCain ran for US presidency twice. In 2000, when he lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush, and in 2008, when lost the general election to Obama, after securing the Republican ticket.

An honourable man, MaCain would not allow his supporters to speak ill of Obama. During one of his presidential campaigns, he always corrected anyone who tried to talk down Obama, especially racially.

After Donald Trump assumed office, McCain was one of the few top Republicans who openly disagreed with his (Trump’s) ‘extreme’ policies. Trump, for his side, never tried to mask his disrespect for MacCain. In one of his televised interviews, Trump made a mockery of MacCain, saying he was “not a war hero because he was captured”.

In July 2017, MaCain was diagnosed with brain cancer after he had gone to remove a blood clot around his left eye. He had survived previous cancers, including melanoma (cancer of the skin). He underwent brain surgery as part of the treatment process and returned to the Senate later in the month.

In May this year, Trump’s aide, Kelly Sadler dismissed McCain’s opposition to the president’s choice for CIA director, saying during a private meeting, “it doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.” The MaCain family said it was offended at the remark.

On Friday, MacCain’s family announced that he had turned down further medical treatment. He died on Saturday.

US’ FoxNews quoted The New York Times as reporting that McCain had made clear to the White House that he doesn’t want Trump to attend his funeral, and would instead prefer Vice President Mike Pence.

“My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best,” his wife tweeted.

Similarly, Obama paid glowing tribute to MaCain, saying “few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own… and for that, e are all in his debt”.

President Trump also tweeted a condolence message to the MaCain family. “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

 

 

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