'I’m a Democrat. And I loved John McCain': Joe Biden delivers heart-rending eulogy for longtime friend, brother
Former Vice President Joe Biden gave a tearful speech about the late senator during Thursday's memorial in Phoenix
During a private memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Arizona on Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden delivered an emotional eulogy for Senate colleague and longtime pal John McCain.
The 75-year-old politician commenced his speech by saying, “My name is Joe Biden. I’m a Democrat. And I loved John McCain.” He said that he has given quite a few eulogies for friends and family in the past, but “this one’s hard.”
“I always thought of John as a brother," Biden said, as he choked up and wiped away a tear. He then quipped, “We had a hell of a lot of family fights,” and the crowd laughed.
The former presidential running mate of Obama recounted memories of his first encounter with McCain in the 1970s when the latter was serving as a liaison between the Navy and the Senate. The duo quickly "hit it off" and would later work together in the U.S. Senate for over two decades.
Their "great friendship" transcended any political differences they ever had, he added. “Because, above all, we understood the same thing: All politics is personal. It’s all about trust,” Biden said. “I trusted John with my life.”
At one point during his speech, Biden remembered his son, Beau, who died of glioblastoma three years ago — the same disease that claimed the lives of Sen. McCain and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, reported People.
“The disease that took John’s life — that took our friend Ted Kennedy’s life, that took my son Beau’s life — is brutal, relentless, unforgiving,” Biden said. “It takes so much from those we love, and from the families who love them, that in order to survive we have to remember how they lived, not how they died.”
“The image I carry with me of Beau is strong, vibrant: the best man his brother Hunter and I ever knew. I’m sure Vicky has her image of Teddy, maybe looking so alive on that beautiful sailboat of his,” Biden said.
“Find your image of John, remember it: his smile, his laugh, a moment on the ranch, at a dinner, on a vacation, when you would turn and see him just staring at you, or when you saw the sheer joy that crossed his face the moment he knew he was about to take the stage or go to the floor of the Senate — and start a fight. God, he loved it.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s eulogy of John McCain never mentioned Trump’s name, but still contained a stinging indictment of Trump’s character and the kinds of politics that he practices. https://t.co/zLMzFLUNj0 pic.twitter.com/CwKqEKEnlA— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) August 30, 2018
Although he hailed the late senator as a celebrated war hero, he said, “John’s story is the American story."
“America’s future didn’t rest on heroes," he said. "Heroes didn’t build this country. Ordinary people given half a chance are capable of doing extraordinary things."
The eminent Arizona Republican and former presidential hopeful died of brain cancer on Saturday at the ripe age of 81 years.
Biden honored McCain on his Twitter account right after the news of his death. “John was many things — a proud graduate of the Naval Academy, a Senate colleague, a political opponent,” he wrote in part. “But, to me, more than anything, John was a friend. America will miss John McCain. The world will miss John McCain. And I will miss him dearly.”
John McCain was many things – a proud graduate of the Naval Academy, a Senate colleague, a political opponent.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 26, 2018
But, to me, more than anything, John was a friend. He will be missed dearly. pic.twitter.com/AS8YsMLw3d