Former President George W. Bush, John McCain’s one-time bitter political rival, recalled the late senator Saturday as a man who loved freedom, detested the abuse of power and wasn’t afraid to take on anyone, including presidents.
“He was honest, no matter who it offended,” Bush said in his eulogy at the National Cathedral. “Presidents were not spared. He was honorable, always recognizing that his opponents were patriots and human beings.”
McCain’s personal invitation to Bush, and to former President Barack Obama, to speak at the memorial service, was as much a gesture toward bipartisanship as was his pointed refusal to invite President Donald Trump.
“John was above all, a man with a code,” he said. “He lived by a set of virtues.”
“He loved freedom with a passion of a man who knew its absence,” he said.
Bush said that McCain always recognized that his opponents “were still patriots and human beings.”
Above all, the former president said, “he detested the abuse of power, he could not abide bigots, and swaggering despots.”
The invitation by McCain to Bush to deliver a eulogy was especially striking, given the animosity between the two men over the 2000 GOP primary.
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Source: USA Today