Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who passed away earlier this year from cancer, explained in a recent interview with the BBC why she did not invite the current president of the United States to his funeral.
President Donald Trump was not allowed to attend the ceremony because McCain wanted her husband’s ceremony to be left “with dignity,” according to reporting from TIME. She added that she wanted the demeanor of the funeral to be more respectful to honor her husband as well as her family.
“Even though it was a very public funeral, we are still a family,” McCain said. “It was important to me that we kept it respectful and calm and not politicize it.”
Trump infamously had a rough relationship with the Arizona Republican, even though they were both members of the same political party. In 2015, while he was running for president, Donald Trump explained in comments that stunned many that he did not consider the late senator to be a war hero, despite spending years in a prisoner of war camp in North Vietnam.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said at the time. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Cindy McCain says Trump wasn't invited to husband's funeral because she wanted to keep it 'with dignity' https://t.co/KiWobxx2Gs— TIME (@TIME) November 21, 2018
McCain explained that she could never forgive the president’s words about her late husband and that she doesn’t have to apologize for not being able to.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it; I’ll be honest,” she said. “But I’m the wife. That’s my prerogative. I don’t have to.”
John McCain was captured in Vietnam and imprisoned in a POW camp on the island of Hanoi, known as the “Hanoi Hilton.” There, he was brutally tortured by his captors, according to reporting from Business Insider.
McCain was offered the chance to leave the prisoners’ camp early after his father was named the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific. The North Vietnamese knew that his departure would look good on the international stage, but also demoralize soldiers in that camp since his leaving would be based on who his father was.
Instead, McCain chose to endure the torture and stay as a POW. He was well aware of the protocols put in place that soldiers who were imprisoned should be allowed to leave in the same order they came in.
He also knew what it would do to his fellow captors if he left.
“I knew that every prisoner the Vietnamese tried to break, those who had arrived before me and those who would come after me, would be taunted with the story of how an admiral’s son had gone home early, a lucky beneficiary of America’s class-conscious society,” he said of his ordeal.