On Monday, Aug. 27, an aide read a final message from the late Sen. John McCain. He said we "weaken our greatness" when we "hide behind walls," an apparent jab at President Donald Trump. McCain's final words were largely positive, though, telling his fellow Americans that "we will get through these challenging times."
The seeming jabs against Trump were contained to one paragraph of nine. "We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all corners of the globe," the prepared statement reads. "We weaken it when we hide behind walls rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been."
The portion directed at Trump came after several references to how important the American identity was to his life. "To be connected to America's causes — liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people — brings happiness more sublime than life's fleeting pleasures," he wrote.
McCain's words continue:
'Fellow Americans' — that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world's greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world.
McCain's words also reflected on his own life. "I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth," the prepared statement reads. "I feel that way now even now as I prepare for the end of my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for 10 satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else's."
The bit of the statement seemingly about the Trump administration is one of many jabs, back and forth, between Trump and the late senator upon McCain's death. On Monday morning, the White House raised its flags to full staff, nearly a week before his internment, as would traditionally be the case. The flags at the Capitol remained at half-staff.
Trump also decided against releasing a longer statement on McCain's death, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. Instead he opted for a Twitter post that didn't mention McCain, only his family. He posted the same message on Instagram with a photo of himself.
On McCain's side came the funeral snub, which was confirmed by a McCain family spokesperson on Monday. "The president will not be, as far as we know, attending the funeral and that is a fact," spokesperson Rick Davis said.
McCain's words ended with a positive message looking forward. "Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history," McCain's prepared statement reads.
The words reflect the statesman — and Trump critic — that McCain was.