U.S., Pa., NJ leaders react to John McCain's death

How big was John McCain’s life?

Minutes after news broke Saturday night of his passing, it was what many people were talking about in homes, at parties, and on social media — noting the senator’s heroic five years of torture and imprisonment, and his decades of public service as a testament to his patriotism.  It was something Democrats and Republicans finally seemed to agree on.  Those sentiments also poured out on social media.

“John McCain spent his entire adult life serving our country – and he did it with honor and integrity,” Mayor Kenney said. “He exemplifies what it means to be an American hero. May he rest in peace.”

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said “the nation mourns” the loss of a “patriot who spent a lifetime honorably serving the country he loved.”

Philadelphia Rep. Bob Brady also noted McCain’s service and said the death would “be felt around the globe.”

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey praised McCain as someone “who was not afraid to fight for what he thought was right, even when it was unpopular.”

And Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware noted, “John McCain literally lived a life of service to this country.”

McCain 81, died at his ranch near Sedona, Ariz.  He was diagnosed in July 2017 with a brain tumor. Late last week, his family said he was stopping all medical treatment.

Embracing the role of a maverick, McCain spent three decades representing Arizona in the Senate.  He ran twice  for president.  One of those losses was to Barack Obama in 2008.

“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics,” Obama said. “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.”

Obama also went on to say that “few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did.”

President Trump, who had often been at odds with McCain, tweeted: “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said McCain welcomed him when he first entered the Senate in 2013 and left him inspired.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called it  “a sad day for the United States.”

“Our country has lost a decorated war hero and statesman,” Ryan said. “John McCain was a giant of our time — not just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life. … This Congress, this country mourn with them.”