Sen. John McCain, a former pilot tortured during the Vietnam War and a non-conformist monument to American politics, died Saturday at the age of 81, as a result of his incurable brain cancer, diagnosed last year.
The Republican Senator’s office announced Saturday night that he had died in the afternoon, surrounded by his wife, Cindy, and his family.
“At his death, he had faithfully served the United States of America for sixty years,” the office said in the statement.
John McCain had been treated since July 2017 for glioblastoma, a very aggressive form of cancer with a very low survival rate. His family had announced Friday that he had decided to stop treatment, in the face of the inexorable advance of the disease.
Immediately, the reactions flocked to greet the memory of this figure of the American policy, which was long criticized within its republican party and among the Democrats for many of its positions, but whose patriotic devotion was recognized by all.
“John and I came from different generations, had completely different origins, and we clashed at the highest level of politics,” said Barack Obama, who beat him in the 2008 presidential election.
“But we shared, despite our differences, a fidelity to something higher, the ideals for which entire generations of Americans and immigrants fought and sacrificed themselves.”
Senate Democratic Opposition Leader Chuck Schumer proposed renaming the Senate building where John McCain had his offices in his name.
As for President Donald Trump, who was in latent conflict with the Republican Senator, he tweeted, “My condolences and my most sincere respect for Senator John McCain’s family. Our hearts and prayers are with you! “Wrote Mr. Trump.
Contempt for Trump
Veteran’s daughter Meghan McCain posted a text on her Twitter account that she stayed with her father until the end, “just like he was with me when I started.”
John McCain was cared for in his state of Arizona, where his friends and colleagues had been marching for months to say goodbye, aware that the end was near.
Despite his treatment and absence from Washington since last December, he remained relatively politically active. In the summer of 2017, he challenged President Donald Trump, for whom he never concealed his contempt, by voting against his health care reform.
He criticized him openly, calling him “badly informed” and “impulsive”.
And in memoirs published in May 2018, “The Restless Wave”, he once again denounced the apparent sympathy of the American president for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president who defied John McCain from the Senate.
He himself was sanctioned by Russia in retaliation for Washington sanctions, a source of pride for the old senator, who often joked about it.
John McCain, son and grandson of admirals, was first a fighter pilot, engaged in the Vietnam War where he was wounded and imprisoned for more than five years.
He was tortured by his jailers, and became during his political career a fierce opponent of torture, denouncing the CIA for his practices of questioning “muscular” under the presidency of George W. Bush.
After his return to the United States at the end of the Vietnam War, he was elected to the House of Representatives, then elected senator in 1986, a seat he has since held, his last re-election in November 2016, having was the most difficult, as part of the Conservative electorate did not forgive him for criticizing Donald Trump.
He had worn the colors of the Republican Party in the 2008 presidential election, losing to Democrat Barack Obama. He then stayed in the Senate, his second home for over thirty years.
Considered an interventionist, convinced that America had to defend his values around the world, he had been one of the fiercest supporters of the Iraq war, and continued to promote America’s military role abroad.
Other causes have spurred his career, including the reform of the immigration system, and electoral financing.
FIVE MAJOR DATES IN JOHN MCCAIN’S LIFE
He spent more than 35 years in politics after a military career interrupted by the Vietnam War.
August 29, 1936 – John Sidney McCain, third of the name, is born in the zone of the channel of Panama. His father is a submariner, his grandfather admiral. He naturally turned to a military career and became a fighter pilot after training at the Annapolis Naval Academy.
October 26, 1967 – John McCain’s fighter jet is hit by a surface-to-air missile over Hanoi. The pilot ejects and is taken prisoner. Fractures in both arms and right leg are knowingly wrong or untreated, and the soldier is beaten and tortured throughout his detention. He was released on March 15, 1973, after the end of the US engagement in Vietnam.
November 2, 1982 – After leaving the Navy, John McCain, who has just been divorced and remarried, is elected to Arizona in the House of Representatives. Four years later, he is elected senator, to which he will be re-elected five times. His current term runs until 2022. September 4, 2008 – After a failure in the 2000 primaries against George W. Bush, John McCain is nominated Republican Party candidate for the White House, against Democrat Barack Obama. He chooses an almost unknown governor as running mate: Sarah Palin. The Republican ticket was largely beaten in November following.
July 28, 2017 – Around 1:30 am John McCain, who had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor, enters the chamber of the Senate and votes, with a gesture of thumb, against the partial repeal of Obamacare, Barack Obama’s health law, tormenting a central promise by Donald Trump. The American president is furious.