In the 2008 presidential race against Barack Obama, Senator John McCain chose an Alaskan governor as his running mate. This week, McCain is being honored as a political maverick after he passed away from brain cancer Saturday at the age of 81, but Sarah Palin won't be attending McCain's funeral. According to People, his former running mate wasn't invited.
On the day of McCain's death, Palin shared kind words about her colleague. "Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter," Palin tweeted, "never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life - and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self."
Despite their history, Palin was reportedly not invited to McCain's funeral. Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News tweeted Wednesday that Palin "is not expected to attend memorial." A source from the Palin family told O'Donnell, "Out of respect to Senator McCain and his family we have nothing to add at this point. The Palin family will always cherish their friendship with the McCains and hold those memories dear."
The McCain family has not publicly commented on the guest list, but a source close to them told People that those not invited to services were not given an official notice. "It wasn’t a no-trespass order," the source told People. "They won’t be turned away by guards if they show up at the funeral."
In the months leading to his death, The New York Times reports, the Arizona senator expressed regret that he didn't choose former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman as his 2008 running mate. In his co-authored book, The Restless Wave, and in an HBO documentary, McCain recounts how his advisers thought Lieberman, an Independent and a close friend of his, would be too liberal for the GOP voters to support. So, he went with Palin.
Still, McCain was never publicly critical of Palin. He was, however, very critical of President Donald Trump — another high-profile politician who wasn't invited to McCain's services.
Even in his farewell letter, McCain denounced Trump's nationalism and desire for a border wall. "We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries," wrote McCain, according to NPR. "We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down."
After facing criticism for not keeping flags at half-mast till after McCain's burial, Trump issued a statement acknowledging McCain's accomplishments.
"Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment," said Trump in a statement Monday, TIME reports.
Vice President Mike Pence will be representing the administration at the memorial instead of Trump. He, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Paul Ryan will lay wreaths upon McCain's casket at the service in the U.S. Capitol Friday, TIME reports.
McCain will be laid to rest in the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.