Michelle Obama Will Attend John McCain's Funeral As Her Husband Delivers The Eulogy
John McCain's memorial will be an eminent event featuring famous guests and speakers from around the world paying their respects to the late senator. But, while her husband is scheduled to give a speech, it was at first unclear whether Michelle Obama would attend McCain's funeral. She was reportedly originally scheduled to be on vacation in Spain at that time.
But according to Newsweek, the former first lady will make it to McCain's services, seemingly forgoing the last leg of her trip. "Mrs. Obama will be attending Senator McCain's funeral," a spokesperson for the family told the magazine on Wednesday.
That statement revises information reported by the Madrid-based paper El País on Tuesday, which said that Obama had landed on the Spanish island of Mallorca and intended to stay there until Monday. It's reportedly her third trip to Mallorca; she's staying at a private estate near the coast there. But it seems that she'll cut her visit a bit short to attend Saturday's memorial in D.C.
There isn't much public information available on Obama's relationship with McCain. It certainly goes back years, at least to the 2008 election campaign in which he competed with her husband for the presidency. The competition bred a "brutal and bitter rivalry" between Barack Obama and McCain, as CNN's Jeff Zeleny writes, but the men also respected each other. Perhaps the best evidence of that is McCain's decision to ask President Obama deliver one of the eulogies at his funeral.
Michelle Obama's personal feelings about McCain aren't as well documented. She didn't comment on the late senator much during his lifetime (her most famous speech in the campaign focused on her husband's virtues instead of McCain's flaws). But she did join her husband in putting out a touching joint statement about McCain's death on Saturday:
John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher - the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed. [...] Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John's best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.
In addition to President Obama, President George W. Bush will also speak at McCain's services on Saturday, along with two of McCain's daughters (Meghan and Sidney), one of his sons (Jimmy), Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, according to The New York Times. Notable figures who have not been invited include Sarah Palin and President Donald Trump, according to People.
McCain's memorial service will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Washington National Cathedral. A private burial ceremony will take place the next day.