The media today: Unified support for a giant of the Senate

On another night jam-packed with news about the president and those in his circle, sad news about one of Washington’s legendary figures provided a moment of unity. Around 8 pm, we learned that John McCain has brain cancer. The longtime Arizona senator, former presidential candidate, and Vietnam War hero recently underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic to remove a blood clot behind his eye. “Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot,” said a statement released by the senator’s office.

The shocked response from around the political and media world demonstrates the rare position the 80-year-old McCain occupies as a figure respected on all sides. President Trump and former Presidents Obama, Clinton, and George H.W. Bush all released statements of appreciation and support. Media members expressed respect for McCain’s candor and decency.

The son and grandson of US Navy admirals, McCain was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 and endured five years of captivity and torture, refusing numerous offers of release. He entered the Senate in 1986, and earned a reputation for working across the aisle on issues such as campaign finance reform.

In a time of vicious political polarization, McCain is one of the few figures in Washington who often manages to rise above the fray. Though he has recently been criticized by some for voting along party lines even as he speaks out forcefully against President Trump’s more troubling actions, McCain’s legacy as a giant of the Senate is secure.

Below, coverage past and present of McCain’s life.


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Pete Vernon is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @ByPeteVernon.