Family members and dignitaries gathered to pay tribute to late U.S. Senator John McCain in Washington DC on Saturday, a solemn event attended by thousands, including two former presidents.
The McCain family was joined by a gathering of friends and loved ones to grieve the loss of an American icon. The ceremony was filled with touching tributes and messages of faith in the face of great loss.
What it didn’t have was the current President of the United States.
The absence of President Donald Trump at the memorial set up the event to be a charged topic of political debate on social media — and Twitter users did not disappoint.
The comparisons started early in the day as President Donald Trump sent a series of tweets attacking the FBI, Department of Justice, the news media and Canada as the McCain motorcade passed the White House
Trump made no reference to the senator’s passing in the posts. While supporters rallied around Trump’s tweets, many criticized his timing:
Meghan McCain shows her father’s spirit in beautiful, poignant and scathing tribute to him, at times displaying the defiance that came to define him.
During the service, Meghan McCain — John McCain’s daughter — eulogized her father as a hero. But her comments that got the most attention on Twitter: thinly-veiled criticisms of Trump.
She said her father was “the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.”
Her comments drew cheers from many:
Some resonated with her words so much that they hoped she would enter politics:
While some said her words were too political for the event:
Former President Barack Obama
Obama’s marks were measured and did not directly touch on current politics.
He indirectly addressed the nation’s deep political divisions as he praised McCain’s independent streak. McCain, he said, believed “some principles transcend politics, that some values transcend party.”
That restraint earned praise from supporters and comparisons to the current president:
While some conservative users saw references to politics in his remarks and criticized Obama, saying he contributed to a divisive atmosphere at the event:
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