Together with Barack Obama, George W. Bush was one of two former presidents who eulogized John McCain on Saturday at his funeral. According to reports, it appeared as if Bush was calling out President Donald Trump as he paid tribute to the late senator and focused on how he “detested the abuse of power” and consistently stood up to bigots and bullies since his time in the U.S. Naval Academy.
As observed by publications such as Hollywood Life, Bush seemed to be referencing Trump in his eulogy for McCain, even if he didn’t drop the president’s name at any point in his speech. The Inquisitr previously reported that Trump and McCain’s feud remained intense until the Arizona senator’s final days, as McCain supposedly informed his friends and family shortly before his death that he didn’t want Trump present at his funeral.
“He was honorable, always recognizing that his opponents were still patriots and human beings. He loved freedom with a passion of a man who knew its absence. He respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators,” said Bush, as quoted in the Atlantic’s full transcript of his eulogy.
“Perhaps above all John detested the abuse of power, could not abide bigots and swaggering despots. There was something deep inside him that made him stand up for the little guy, to speak for forgotten people in forgotten places.”
Bush also remembered McCain as a person who had no tolerance for bullying, citing a story from one of the senator’s Naval Academy friends, who recalled how the young McCain told an upperclassman to “pick on someone his own size” after he caught him spewing verbal abuse at a steward. He also recognized McCain’s courage and decency as two traits that didn’t just define his calling as a human being, but also that of the United States.
According to a report from the Washington Post, McCain’s funeral marked the first time that two former presidents eulogized a man whom both had previously defeated for the presidency. This was referenced by Obama in his eulogy for McCain, as he quipped that the former Republican presidential candidate had chosen the best way to “get the last laugh” by choosing two former opponents to “say nice things about him” in front of a national audience.
George W. Bush wasn’t the only prominent figure to take jabs at Donald Trump while eulogizing John McCain at his funeral service. According to Fox News, The View co-host Meghan McCain referenced the president’s “Make America Great Again” slogan in her speech, saying that her father’s version of America “has no need to be made great again” as the country was “always great” to begin with. She also referred to McCain as an example of genuine American greatness, as opposed to “cheap rhetoric” from men who couldn’t come close to sacrificing as much as the late senator and Vietnam War hero did for his country.