What they’re saying: Colorado, his family and the nation mourn John McCain

Author: Colorado Politics - August 25, 2018 - Updated: August 27, 2018

In this Nov. 3, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally in Tampa, Fla. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

U.S. Sen. John McCain died Saturday after battling brain cancer for more than a year. Full details here.

Here are comments from leaders in Colorado and across the nation, as well as the senator’s family, about the passing of McCain:


“John McCain dedicated his life to serving this country. We (and the world) lost an incredible leader. He could never have imagined how much he’ll be missed.” — Gov. John Hickenlooper (via Twitter)

“Jaime and I are praying for Cindy and the entire McCain family. John was a patriot and hero, and I’ll miss his leadership in the Senate.” — U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado (via Twitter).

“Susan and I extend our deepest condolences to the McCain family. We also express our gratitude to Senator McCain for his never-ending kindness to our daughters when they visited Washington. His example tells us that we need not accept dysfunctional politics and empty partisanship as inevitable. His absence will require much more of the rest of us.” — U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado.

“Senator John McCain was a man who, throughout his life, showed us the meaning of duty, bravery and integrity. I honor him for his decades of service to our country and send my deepest condolences to his family. Rest In Peace.” — U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver (via Twitter).

“My deepest sympathy is with the McCain family this evening. The Senator was an extraordinary leader, a war hero and a great public servant. His legacy and service to our Nation won’t be forgotten.” — U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora.

“John McCain was a courageous, resilient and honorable American who dedicated his life to serving our country, and his impact will not be forgotten. My thoughts are with his friends and family during this difficult time.” — U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada (via Twitter).

“I’m thankful for Senator McCain’s many decades of service to our nation and my prayers go out to his family tonight.” — U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor (via Twitter).

“Rest In Peace, Senator John McCain.” — U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder.

“John McCain will be truly missed. He served his country well. My prayers are with his family at this time.” — U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs (via Twitter).

“I’m saddened to hear about the loss of Senator John McCain. He was a warrior, patriotic and a true hero! What a validated and respected leader of our nation. We will miss his courageous leadership.” — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (via Twitter).

“Senator John McCain was an American hero and an American icon. He will be missed by millions and I stand with all Coloradans today as we mourn this loss for our country. Jenna and I are praying for the entire McCain family tonight.” — State Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

“It was John McCain’s first term in the U.S. House. President Reagan called for the deployment of troops to Lebanon. Congress passed the resolution of approval by a huge majority including the votes of almost all of the anti-war Congressmen. Only a small handful of Vietnam veterans opposed the measure. McCain thought we should insist on a clear mission and a way to protect our troops before committing them to a combat area. It is a lesson we could have learned in Vietnam, Iraq and Somalia. The fact that the resolution was hugely popular didn’t deter him from voting no. He voted his conscience regardless of how popular the vote might be. It set a pattern for John’s service in the coming decades. During the Clinton Administration, new policies were proposed that would endanger Colorado’s water rights. McCain joined us in fighting to protect Colorado water rights, even though Arizona might benefit from our loss. He was motivated by what he thought was good policy for the country – not what might aid him. In numerous negotiations with John over controversial legislation, he never asked for a quid pro quo. With him the discussion was about what was good legislation – not about what might benefit him. McCain’s devotion to our country in combat was matched by his devotion to America in the U. S. Senate. His father and grandfather were both four star Admirals in the Navy. They would be proud of his heroism in combat. We can be proud of the standard he set for integrity for those who would serve our nation in Congress.” — Former U.S. Sen. and University of Colorado President Hank Brown.

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“My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the the place he loved best.” — Cindy McCain, the senator’s wife (via Twitter).

“My father, United States Senator John Sidney McCain III, departed this life today. I was with my father at his end, as he was with me at my beginning. In the thirty-three years we shared together, he raised me, taught me, corrected me, comforted me, encouraged me, and supported me in all things. He loved me, and I loved him. He taught me how to live. His love and his care, ever present, always unfailing, took me from a girl to a woman — and he showed me what it is to be a man. All that I am is thanks to him. Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love. My father’s passing comes with sorrow and grief for me, for my mother, for my brothers, and for my sisters. He was a great fire who burned bright, and we lived in his light and warmth for so very long. We know that his flame lives on, in each of us. The days and years to come will not be the same without my dad — but they will be good days, filled with life and love, because of the example he lived for us. Your prayers, for his soul and for our family, are sincerely appreciated. My father is gone, and I miss him as only an adoring daughter can. But in this loss, and in this sorrow, I take comfort in this: John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this earth. Today the warrior enters his true and eternal life, greeted by those who have gone before him, rising to meet the Author of All Things: “The dream is ended: this is the morning.” — Meghan McCain, the senator’s daughter.


“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!” — President Donald Trump (via Twitter).

“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed. We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way. Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family.” — Former President Barack Obama.

“Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I’ll deeply miss. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies to Cindy and the entire McCain family, and our thanks to God for the life of John McCain.” — Former President George W. Bush.

“Senator John McCain believed that every citizen has a responsibility to make something of the freedoms given by our Constitution, and from his heroic service in the Navy to his 35 years in Congress, he lived by his creed every day. He was a skilled, tough politician, as well as a trusted colleague alongside whom Hillary was honored to serve in the Senate. He frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country, and was never afraid to break the mold if it was the right thing to do. I will always be especially grateful for his leadership in our successful efforts to normalize relations with Vietnam. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Cindy, his mother, Roberta, his children, and his entire family.” — Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Karen and I send our deepest condolences to Cindy and the entire McCain family on the passing of Senator John McCain. We honor his lifetime of service to this nation in our military and in public life. His family and friends will be in our prayers. God bless John McCain.” — Vice President Mike Pence (via Twitter).

“John McCain was many things – a proud graduate of the Naval Academy, a Senate colleague, a political opponent. But, to me, more than anything, John was a friend. He will be missed dearly.” — Former Vice President Joe Biden (via Twitter).

“Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life—and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self. John McCain was my friend. I will remember the good times.” — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s 2008 running mate.

“John McCain was an American hero, a man of decency and honor and a friend of mine. He will be missed not just in the U.S. Senate but by all Americans who respect integrity and independence. Jane and I send our deepest condolences to his family.” — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.

“America and Freedom have lost one of her greatest champions. … And I’ve lost one of my dearest friends and mentor. .. I will need some time to absorb this, but I want Cindy —and the entire McCain family — to know they are in my prayers.” — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina.

“Senator John McCain was a patriot, and an extraordinary American war hero. Born into a storied Navy family, he spent his entire life in service to his country, including 22 years in the Navy, five and a half of which were spent under the boots of North Vietnamese communists in a Hanoi prison. First elected to Congress during the Reagan Revolution, he championed the strong national defense that he knew would help ensure the survival of freedom and liberty across the globe. He did things his way, and conducted two campaigns for President of the United States with honor and integrity. Today, the State of Arizona, and our entire nation, have lost a great public servant. He was larger than life. Although he and I sometimes disagreed, I was deeply privileged to serve with him and proud to call him a friend. Heidi and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Cindy, and to the entire McCain family, as they grieve the loss of a loving husband, father, and grandfather. May he rest in peace.” — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 12:55 p.m. Aug. 26 to correct Perlmutter’s first name.

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.