According to a recent profile of John McCain in The New York Times, people close to the cancer-stricken Arizona senator are making preparations for the end of his life, and there's one detail that definitely jumps out. Namely, it sounds as if McCain doesn't want Trump attending his funeral, based on the fact that Vice President Mike Pence will reportedly be invited to attend, but the president won't.
McCain, 81, has been battling a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer for months, and it's been known the entire time that the prognosis is grim. In recent months, friends, family members, and close confidants have been speaking publicly about their relationship to McCain, and what he means to them. In particular, former vice president Joe Biden has spoken about their close friendship, as well as former Democratic senator Joe Lieberman, who McCain now says he wishes he'd made his vice presidential nominee in 2008.
According to The New York Times, however, one person he's not so close with is the current president. Although to report doesn't specifically say that McCain requested Trump stay away, it notes the pair's "rocky relationship," and says that McCain's "intimates" have informed the White House that they want Pence, not Trump, to attend the services.
The type of brain cancer McCain is suffering from is glioblastoma, a fast-growing and deadly ailment with also killed former Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy in 2009. He was diagnosed back in June of 2017, and having survived nearly a year to date, he’s rapidly approaching the average length at which glioblastoma patients typically pass away.
The average adult's chances of surviving for two years with glioblastoma is just 30 percent, according to Newsweek, although as a U.S. senator and a man of considerable personal wealth, McCain has had access to top-notch health care that many people faced with the same condition would not.
That said, it seems clear from The New York Times' report that people close to him are beginning to make preparations, which suggests that his condition may be getting worse.
Perhaps his most memorable act as a senator in the Trump era came in the summer of last year, weeks after his cancer diagnosis, when he dramatically cast the pivotal "no" vote on the Republican Obamacare alternative bill. The vote was not actually the last time the GOP attempted to pass a health care bill, but subsequent attempts also failed.
It's not hard to see why McCain and his loved ones wouldn't want Trump at his funeral. During the Republican primary campaign, Trump mocked and belittled McCain for having been captured during the Vietnam war, a capture which resulted in him being held as a prisoner of war for years, and subjected to physical and mental torture. He even went so far as to dispute the widely held view that McCain was a war hero.
"He’s not a war hero,” Trump said, as detailed by Politico. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."
McCain has also frequently criticized Trump for some of his strident anti-media tendencies, once remarked to MSNBC's Chuck Todd that those kinds of attack demonizing the press were "how dictators get started." That said, McCain has nonetheless largely supported Trump's legislative agenda, voting in line with the president's positions 83 percent of the time.
It remains to be seen how much time McCain has left, although his daughter, The View co-host Meghan McCain, tweeted on Friday that she was flying home to Arizona to spend the weekend with her family.
"Thank you all again for your prayers, patience, understanding and compassion during this time. It means the world to me and my entire family," she said. She also said she'll be returning to The View on Tuesday.