As Sen. John McCain’s casket was brought into the U.S. Capitol Rotunda Friday, Republican and Democratic colleagues of past and present stood by as he entered the iconic building where he made his legacy one final time.
“I will miss a dear friend whose smile reminded us that service is a privilege and whose scars reminded us of the great cost that brave souls pay for our freedom,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
McConnell thanked McCain’s family, including his 106-year-old mother, Roberta.
“On behalf of the Senate and the entire nation — thank you,” McConnell said. “Thank you for lending him to us longer than we had a right. Thank you for supporting him while he supported us.”
Last year, he famously tanked the Republican-led effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. McCain made the iconic thumbs down motion during a Senate floor vote in the middle of the night, while McConnell stood idly by, arms crossed and head down, with a look of defeat.
“He treated every issue with the intensity the people’s business deserves,” McConnell remembered. “He would fight tooth and nail for his vision of the common good. Depending on the issue, you knew John would either be your staunchest ally or your most stubborn opponent.”
Vice President Mike Pence was also in attendance.
“The president asked me to be here on behalf of a grateful nation, to pay a debt of honor and respect,” Pence said.