WASHINGTON, D.C. — Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch said Monday it is “ridiculous” that ailing Sen. John McCain, also a Republican, doesn’t want President Donald Trump to attend his funeral, as was reported over the weekend.
“I think that’s ridiculous,” Hatch told CNN when asked about McCain’s desire to keep Trump away. “He’s the President of the United States. He’s a very good man. But it’s up to John. I think John should have his wishes fulfilled with regard to who attends his funeral.”
Asked if he would encourage McCain, who has battled famously with Trump, to change his mind and ask the President to speak at his funeral, Hatch, who has been a strong supporter of Trump, said, “I would.”
“He would be a very interesting speaker and would do a good job for John,” Hatch said before noting that he hopes McCain recovers from his brain cancer and returns to work.
But Hatch, who as the most senior member of the majority party is the president pro tempore of the Senate, praised the Arizona Republican and war veteran as a “hero” who “will go down in history as a wonderful senator.”
He also said he expects McCain’s best friend, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, to champion McCain’s calls for more bipartisanship and compromise in Washington.
“There are a number of the rest of us who will make sure the place runs,” Hatch assured.
He also said there have been badly partisan times before and the country will survive.
“We’ve always had tough times here and we always had to work our way through them,” Hatch said. “So it’s nothing new.”
Asked if McCain was sending a contradictory message by preaching compromise but blocking the sitting President from eulogizing him, Hatch steered clear.
“I’m not going to weigh in on that,” Hatch said. “He can have whatever feelings he has. And maybe he’s justified in feeling that way I don’t know. But I don’t think so.”