tv U.S. Senate Sens. Sullivan Casey Tributes to John Mc Cain CSPAN August 29, 2018 5:45am-6:21am EDT
>> live wednesday on seeps and, the chamber of commerce hosted its labor day press briefing to talk about economic issues facing u.s. businesses. in the afternoon, a ceremony at the arizona state capitol where the body of senator john mccain will lie in state of the next two days. on c-span2, assistant defense secretary reviews the talks between the u.s. and india. that starts at 10 a.m.. on c-span3, the white house historical association hosts the presidential sites summit and washington, d.c. at 9 a.m. senators from both sides of the aisle into the door of the senate yesterday to pay tribute to the late arizona senator john mccain. let's watch. mr. president, i'm standing at a different desk this evening
when i get my remarks because i want to be actually in front of -- behind this desk in front of me which is an attorney keynes desk draped in black -- which is senator mccain's desk draped in black. the loss we are all doing in the united states senate. as we have heard from so many in this chamber all week, this evening in particular. senator mccain's passing represents not only an incalculable loss to his family, his dear wife cindy, his friends and a legion of admirers across the world, but to his colleagues here in the u.s. senate committee democrats and republicans and to the institution of the senate itself where he served as a model of honor and integrity and character for 31 years. mr. president, there are so many people who served with him much longer and knew him much better
than i did. i have been watching the speeches. the wonderful, passionate, emotional words from my .olleagues like senator graham lindsey graham, his best friend here in the senate. the white house -- senator whitehouse. good friend of wind who i met through many trips through senator mccain. so many have been coming down to the floor. tributes on the senate floor and in the newspapers across the country have been inspiring and they have been true. talking about a man of courage, a steadfast patriot. an american hero. a warrior of the indomitable spirit who not only believed in american exceptionalism but expired -- but inspired millions of americans and millions of people across the globe to believe in it as well.
listened,watched and sometimes i have started to wonder what more is there to ask? there has been a lot said. especially from a freshman senator who has not served with john knew the as long as most in this chamber. taught us john mccain anything, it was to speak and you feel compelled to speak. when it comes to him, i certainly feel compelled to speak. particularly as a newer member of this body who thought the world of this man and learned so much from him. john mccain was a leader, there is no arguing about that. one of the qualities of leadership that is so important -- sometimes gets overlooked that was a huge quality of this great senator -- was his ability
to focus on, give his time and willingness to mentor newer members of the senate. if you look at the arc of his three decades of service in the u.s. senate, one thing he always took the time to do was to take newer members under his wing, show them the ropes, travel with ,hem, teach them, coach them and of course this takes time and effort heard it takes energy. it takes initiative. we are all busy here in the united states senate heard. a reallywas and is important hallmark of the mccain legacy. critical. ,nd it is a bipartisan legacy mr. president. just look at the senators who have come to the floor to speak about senator mccain. look at some of the network senators who have come to the floor.
ernst, whitehouse, graham of course. many who have had that privilege. the great privilege of having john mccain actually take an interest in them and the spending his precious time and energy on their well-being and careers here in the senate. president, one of the true owners of my life was having john mccain as a rent and mentor here in the u.s. senate. happens come at the time this was happening you don't always think about it too much, but now as we look here at i am so grateful that i had these experiences. things with john mccain it was not a social experience. experience.
in fact the time i didn't feel i had a choice in the matter. i first month in the senate in january 2015, like a lot of new senators, i was clueless here. rules, faces, names, votes. pulledne of the senate me aside on the floor of the senate on two different times that first month i was a senator. one, he was talking about institution that mattered to him. the u.s. naval academy. , under to me, dan federal law the chairman of the armed services committee sits on the board of all the service academies or his designee. and he asked me if i was interested in sitting on the board of visitors for the naval academy. from john mccain, who went to
the naval academy. his dad went to the table academy. his grandfather went to the naval academy. the name mccain and naval academy are synonymous. he's going to be buried there, in fact. and i looked at the senator, and i said yes sir. another time in the armed services committee, he mentioned a me that he had always taken very strong interest in the asia-pacific and our force posture out there. with what was happening in places like okinawa, and that he wanted the new were members of the senate to be part of that. reaching out to new senators, i want you to do this. i am going to travel to the
region, i want you to come with me. unbelievable. and i said yes, sir to that. like so many here, we have talked about it. we went to these places. just a couple months later, i had the incredible honor of traveling to vietnam with senator mccain. with senator reid from rhode island, senator ernst iowa and that is a trip i will never forget. we actually went to the hanoi hilton where it has been talked about a lot this past week or john mccain suffered, was tortured. there is a tribute in that place of torture. not really a tribute but it has pictures of him or to walk in and looked at the end there were americans in front reading about this. they turned around and they saw john mccain.
two of them just started crying. by the way, when you're in vietnam with john mccain, he is treated like a hero. the hero that he is, by the vietnamese people which is amazing. these code out her senator mccain has let them all over the world with senators have got a lot of attention. of course, they are very important. senator graham was talking recently in the senate we focus a lot on foreign policy and national security. you can't learn that from watching cable tv. you can learn it when you go out into the world and travel and meet with leaders and meet with people and see the suffering, see the opportunities, cb challenges. john mccain took so many of us
in his leadership, mentorship way on these congressional delegations all over the world. there has been some joking now about how with his energy and his focus, some members called these force marches. by the way, nobody could keep up with him. even the newer members. they certainly were intense. mentorship,idea of with john mccain he once again showed that leadership. he would be leading it. you would be in a room with the world leader and he would take , introducedname every member of the senate on the trip. and have them ask questions and engage. he could have dominated every one of these conversations. he never did 30 was always asking the members, what do you think?
do you have a question? these were also a great opportunity. and i know he did these for another reason, to bring senators together. it democrats and republicans. when you are traveling overseas, partisan differences fade. if you're in a war zone or poverty-stricken country or to leadership -- or a dictatorship. is aee that what unites us lot more important than what divides us. bottom line he clearly saw pot of his mission as to work with mentors and the next generation of senators for responsibilities that he clearly cared so much about. particularly on foreign policy and national security.
i like to talk a little bit about my class, the class elected in 2014. senators in that class. presiding officers of member of that class it is a great class. a lot of energy and youth. of the 13 members of the class of 2014 who joined the armed services committee, there are eight who are on it. eight. that is john mccain in action as the chairman of that committee. senators,ators, newer getting them on the committee to focus and learn about the world. there has been numerous articles and commentary that particularly in the realm of foreign policy and national security, the passing of this great senator has left a huge void in the u.s.
senate. i couldn't agree more. the combination of service and sacrifice and moral authority and military and combat , onrience and eight deep abiding conviction about america's role in the world makes him a unique, unique u.s. senator. unmatched by anyone in this body. one of the things about leadership again, mr. president, as i believe senator mccain knew this, which is one of the reasons he focused so much on the issues of mentoring other toators over the years, prepare this body and the next generation of senators -- whether on the armed services committee, whether part of another institution he led for many years, the international in making institute
and being ready that when this day happened, other senators who were taught and mentored and encouraged i john mccain would be focused on issues that he cared so much about like the indispensable role of america and the u.s. senate in making the world a better place. mr. president, a mentor is of course by definition a teacher. so many of us have learned so much from him. much has been said about this and i am sure that over the years we will learn more and more about what senator mccain taught us. i would like to highlight two areas where i personally learned so much from john mccain. was how to fight for what you believed in. when you look at the arc of john mccain's life, his whole life,
whether in the hanoi hilton or the senate lore, it was about fighting for what you believe in. pretty much everybody in this body has had a scrap with john mccain. when you did it, you had to be ready to fight with all you had intense. on the armed service, prior to the markup of the act, i would have a one-on-one meeting with him on some provisions he might not like i was trying to get in the bill. these were mostly behind closed doors battles, some of which got a little heated, fingers lost , voices raised, more than i won. it never was personal for john mccain. he was a warrior and he often said a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed.
when he took a stand he could be unwavering but was always will to listen to reason and compromise when the reasoning was convincing and the principles sound regardless who was making the case, a democrat or republican. we are americans first, americans last, and americans always, he once said, but let's argue our differences but remember, we are not enemies in a war s together against a real enemy. and mr. president, he always fought with honor and kept his word. in his final memoir, the restless wave, i recommend everyone to reed, a great book, is an entire chapter called fighting the good night. it recount a lot of his battles on the floor of this body but when the fight was over, he emphasized the importance of
keeping your word, of what he called the senate's principle virtue. he always did that and taught others to do that. another thing i learned early on from senator mccain was how to have fun and not take life too seriously here in the u.s. senate. senate. senator mccain's good nor mccain's good friend john layman, president reagan's secretary of the navy, recently wrote an op-ed about senator mccain's life entitled "a life of service with good-natured irreverence. and i think for most of us who knew and loved john mccain, that was a great description of him. his wit was legendary and i learned if you were a target of it, you were ultimately a term of endearment though it could take some getting used to.
senator sasse was on the floor talking about this, some of the barbs, some of your first engagements with the senator. i first met john mccain four years ago. i remember the meeting like it was yesterday. was a huge fan. i had read books about him. i had read books by him. i was here as a candidate for the u.s. senate, had recently won my primary, and i was meeting senators at one of our lunches. senator murkowski, my colleague from alaska, was taking me around, introducing me to a number of republican senators, and she said, oh, dan, have you ever met john mccain? i said, no, i'd be honored to meet him. so i walk up to senator mccain. of course i was a bit nervous. my colleague from alaska, senator murkowski, was introducing me and telling a little about my background and
said i was a marine and i was in the reserves commanding a battalion, and senator mccain looked at me and very serious said, wow, that's interesting, dan. i almost joined the marines. and i said, really, senator? he said, yeah, i almost joined the marines, but the marines told me i wasn't qualified. and i said, really? why weren't you qualified? and as i was asking this question of him, i notice other senators gathering around, all smiling, said why wasn't i qualified? because i knew who my parents were. of course everybody laughed. senator mccain laughed. i realized i and my beloved marine corps had just been insulted by john mccain in a first of what would be many jokes. only later did i know -- and senator gramm was talking about that -- that this marine joke was one of many in the mccain
represent -- repertoire. i have heard it many times now and since. it always gets a laugh. but these jokes are a great part of his wonderful personality. irreverent, wisecracks to keep people humble, keep them laughing, even about serious topics. i remember when i was in vietnam with senator mccain. we were actually at the lake in hanoi where he had been shot down and parachuted into this lake. and there is a statue -- there's actually a statue of john mccain coming out of the lake. and the language is in vietnamese, and he said, you know, i really don't like this statue. i can't stand it. you know why, dan? no, i have no idea, john. look at what it says.
john mccain -- major, united states air force. then he let a few choice words out that i can't say here on the senate floor. he says, i wasn't a major in the u.s. air force. i was a commander in the u.s. navy! even in the twilight of his life, the wit and wisecracks were as strong as ever. i had the honor of visiting senator mccain about six weeks ago in arizona with his wonderful wife, cindy. we were talking about the national defense authorization act that he was -- we were getting ready to sign -- we were getting ready to vote on that was named after him. and i was getting ready to leave and i said, john, i just want you to know all your senate colleagues really, really miss you. he hadn't said much during the conversation.
he looked at me and said, dan, that's a lie. again, after all he'd been three, he still had a lightness of being and wit and laughter. he still knew how to love the world, to appreciate it in all its humor, splendor and creativity. the story of john mccain is a story for the ages. care-free, somewhat reckless young man, a rebel searching for a cause who found that cause and love of country as a p.o.w. in vietnam. he underwent unimaginable suffering yet came back and loved america more for it and wanted most of all to pass that down, that love, that sense of service to the next generation. and he succeeded. let me close by quoting the same robert louis stevenson poem that senator mccain cited during
his father's funeral service. here he lies where he longed to be, home has a sailor, home from the sea, in the hunter home from the hill. to cindy mccain and the whole mccain family, please be assured of our continued prayers and deepest condolences for your loss. we miss john mccain so much, as we know you do. to my friend, john mccain, god speed, simple per fidelis, fair winds and following seas. it was an honor to serve with you. you will always be with us. i yield the floor. mr. casey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president.
i rise today, as my colleague from alaska just did so eloquently, to pay tribute to our colleague and friend, senator john mccain. i guess i have to start with a question -- where do i begin? where does anyone begin after all we've heard these last number of days and will continue to hear in the days ahead when we pay tribute in a more formal way in the next few days here in washington, in arizona and around the world? john mccain lived to serve his country, and his life could be best described by many words, but three come to mind: courage, commitment, and character. there's a line attributed to abraham lincoln where he said in the end, it's not the years in one's life that counts.
it's the life in those years. it's a loose translation, not exact. but when you consider the life in those years in the context of john mccain, what a life it was. a remarkable human being who was able to rise above the horror of being a captive and being tortured to achieve so much in his life after that, in the navy, as an elected official, and as a presidential candidate. and of course most especially as a leader. john mccain demonstrated a kind of courage that most people cannot even begin to imagine. five and a half years spent in an enemy prison camp in north vietnam. i was thinking as that was
recounted this week, five and a half years is just a little less than a senate term that he spent as a captive. given the opportunity to cut the line and be released ahead of his fellow prisoners because of the rank, likely because of the rank of his father as an admiral, john mccain said no, he would wait his turn and endure the beatings and sufferings that he had to endure. a few years ago a number of us retreated to the rare privilege to listen to john mccain talk about that experience. we had a lunch with both sides of the aisle in the caucus room in the russell building, and john mccain talked about some of his experiences as a prisoner of war. i will never forget those stories, and i'll never affordable care act how -- and
i'll never forget how he walked through those experiences with such humility. there is no recitation of facts that would lead to the conclusion that he was heroic, though he was. there was no self-aggrandizement, no effort to tell you how tough he was or how strong he was. he just told stories about what it was like. the daily suffering, what his captors, the pain they would inflict on him day after day after day. this experience obviously and certainly impacted his approach to foreign policy, his approach to military policy for the rest of his life, and especially it impacted his work as a public official in the united states house of representatives and in the united states senate. in his 2008 acceptance speech at
the republican national convention, john mccain said, and i quote, i fell in love with my country when i was a prisoner in someone else's. i loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. i loved it for its decency, for its faith, and the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people. unquote. it is a rare soul of great courage who comes away from such a painful, searing experience with that outlook and with a deep desire to continue to serve. john mccain's life obviously was a life of action and a life of commitment. he was committed to this country that he served for 60 years in the navy, in the house of representatives, and in the senate. the senate, of course, for more than 30 after having been
elected in 1986. he was of course committed to bringing hope to the oppressed and the persecuted around the world, and people here at home as well. when i think of john, i'm reminded of the words, some of the words from "america the beautiful." the one line that is inspirational is that line that we've heard often: "oh beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years." john mccain's life was a testament to that dream. not dream in a theoretical sense, but the belief, the belief that your work every day has to be geared towards the future. the dream of a patriot is not something abstract. the dream of a patriot has to be
a commitment to working on behalf of those who will come after you. that's why the line talks about seeing beyond the years. always working, as john mccain was, for the future, for more freedom, for more opportunity, for less oppression, for less suffering, for people here at home and around the world. so he had that dream that animated his life's work. john mccain of course would also be the first person to remind us that he was far from perfect. i'm not sure i ever heard of a public official recount or recite instances where he wasn't perfect or he didn't do the right thing. very few public officials are willing to admit that. but of course john was not the usual public official. but even when he would catalog
mistakes or things that he believed he did wrong, everyone who knew him, everyone who knew anything about his life or his work or his service would also conclude at the same time that without question john mccain had integrity. john mccain had character. and character must continue to matter in the life of a public official. if it doesn't matter, then we're not going to have much of a country. john mccain understood that. it's not good enough to be smart and committed to your positions on public policy. it's not good enough just to be there for votes and for debates. that's obviously critical, but character still matters, and john mccain was living proof of that. i remember one occasion where we had, he and i had an acrimonious exchange in the senate elevators
just a couple of seconds when the elevator went from the basement to the second floor. john was very heated. i was taken by surprise at how heated he was. yet as we've heard so many times over the past several days, john mccain never let a public policy disagreement impact personal relationships with his colleagues. a couple of hours later we were back on the senate floor, and i wanted to continue the argument, and i started to approach him on the floor to continue the argument. i guess i wanted to get the last word, which might be a mistake with john mccain. but as i got close to him, john mccain lifted up his arms and reached out to me, embraced me and said "i'm sorry" and he apologized. it is not common for elected firms in any government, at any level of government to apologize on a regular basis, but of
course it's not common, but john mccain was uncommon when it came to being a unique public official. john worked with so many of us on many issues. i didn't have the chance to work with him on a long list of issues, but i do remember one that had a particular impact on me, and that was his work as a vocal advocate for the people of syria who were still sufferingened the oppressive -- suffering under the violent regime of bashar al-assad. i worked with john to pursue a policy as to how the united states could best support the aspirations of the people for stabilities and a prosperous future. john mccain and i didn't agree on all national security issues, but i will always remember his courage of conviction when it came to standing with the oppressed and vulnerable people
across the world against tyrannical dictators or despots. and on this issue, we were on the same page, trying to get the policy right. whether it was international affairs or domestic policies, john worked to find common ground with his colleagues, though to do that we were trying to create, of course, a stronger country and a better world. and i'm grateful to have been included among those who can say that they worked with john mccain to try to enact good policy. mr. president, let me conclude with these words. in one of his final interviews, john mccain, when asked how he would like to be remembered, his simple response was, quote, he served his country honorably, unquote, with the final word added with some reservation, as if he still wondered if it was deserved. let's be clear, john mccain
did serve his country honorably, and his country is much better, much better for his service. we'll miss him in this chamber, but we should all strive to live up to his example of service and bipartisan work in the senate and bipartisan work, of course, for our nation. the words ring true for john mccain more than almost anyone else i can think of. oh beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years. john mccain was always trying to be that patriot that would be thinking about the future, that would try to see beyond the years to make life better for those who came after him. and we are privileged to have served in the united states senate with john mccain. on behalf of my family, and i'm sure not just the family of pennsylvania but well