Presidents, local lawmakers honor John McCain

DENVER -- Presidents and lawmakers from both parties -- including those in Colorado -- are honoring Sen. John McCain's decades of service to his country in the hours after his death Saturday.

President Donald Trump, who criticized McCain for being taken prisoner during the Vietnam War, said his "deepest sympathies and respect" went out to McCain's family.

McCain died at his ranch in Arizona after a yearlong battle with brain cancer. On Saturday night, a black hearse accompanied by a police motorcade could be seen driving away from the ranch near Sedona where he spent his final weeks.

Trump's brief Twitter statement said "hearts and prayers" are with the McCain family. Melania Trump thanked McCain for his service to the nation, which included more than five years as a prisoner of war and six terms in the Senate.

Former President Barack Obama released a statement highlighting the differences between himself and the man who campaigned against him in the 2008 presidential election.

Obama said the two were from "different generations" but they shared the same sentiment regarding the greatness of America.

"We saw this country as a place where anything is possible -- and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way," Obama said.

In Colorado, Rep. Congressman Mike Coffman also tweeted his condolences, saying McCain was an "extraordinary leader, a war hero and a great public servant."

Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner called McCain "a patriot and hero."

Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet thanked McCain for his "never-ending kindness to our daughters when they visited Washington."

Local veterans are also reflecting on McCain’s impact. Jeff Beckford, a Navy veteran and Air Force officer, had the chance to meet the senator during a campaign stop at Buckley Air Force Base.

“He was a veteran and a hero. We respect people who have gone before us and what he had to endure -- just to be in the presence of someone like that, I appreciated that,” Beckford said.

Obama and former President George W. Bush were asked to give eulogies at his services.

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