John McCain US Immigration Reformer dies at 81 years of age

Support migrant centric journalism today and donate

Senator John McCain US immigration reformer, five times elected to the US Senate and Vietnam war hero died on 25 August 2018 of brain cancer.  He had been ill for over a year.

Donald Trump had claimed that John McCain was not a war hero

Previously Donald Trump had said at a campaign event in Iowa in June 2015 that Mr McCain was not a war hero.

"He's a war hero because he was captured," Mr Trump said. "I like people that weren't captured."

In comparison President Donald Trump received five military deferments excusing him from duty in Vietnam during the 1960s. The reasons given for avoiding the Vietnam draft were academic reasons and one for bone spurs (calcium build-up in the heels).

John McCain had been a thorn in the side of Trump and it was his deciding vote on 27 July 2017 that prevented the repeal of Obamacare.

This year John McCain read from his book about US Immigration Reform:

John McCain had collaborated with Senator Ted Kenedy on immigration reform.  Ted Kennedy had also died of a brain tumour almost exactly nine years ago.

John McCain read from his book "The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations."

McCain and co-author Mark Salter had the following to say:

"We failed twice, and then once more after Ted had passed away, despite big majorities in both houses of Congress in favor of it,"…. "I'd like to say I'll try again. But that is not up to me anymore. That's a harder disappointment than other defeats have been because first, it's something that most Americans want, and most members of Congress know is the right thing to do.

"But most of all, because it's something this country needs to do now, in this political moment, as old fears and animosities that have blighted our history appear to be on the rise again, exploited by opportunists who won't trouble their careers or their consciences with scruples about honesty or compassion for their fellow man," he adds.

John McCain controversial running mate in 2008 Sarah Palin

The Guardian newspaper has recently commented that it was thanks at least partly due to John McCain that Trump became President.   They have suggested that by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate for the Presidential elections in 2008 he had somehow made ultra right wing populism acceptable.

David Brooks, a New York Times journalist in an HBO documentary John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls was interviewed as saying.

“I don’t think he could have known it at the time but he took a disease that was running through the Republican party – anti-intellectualism, disrespect for facts – and he put it right at the centre of the party,”

It had been suggested that John McCain should have picked Joe Lieberman as his running mate:

Jeff Flake, McCain’s Republican colleague from Arizona, said to the Guardian: “He regrets not going with his instinct on that, which would have been Lieberman. I don’t know if it would have made the difference in that election but the Palinisation of politics kind of started there. It hasn’t been the best for the Republican party, I will say, but I don’t think he could have known. She was more a symptom of it than anything else.”

Donald Trump not invited to funeral

McCain had made it clear that he did not want Trump to be invited to his funeral.  This remained the case on his last day on Saturday surrounded by family.

George W Bush, who was selected instead of McCain for the Republican nomination in 2000, and Barack Obama, who beat McCain in 2008 to become President have been asked to speak at the funeral.  This will be held at the United States Naval Academy in Maryland.