Three years later, Meghan McCain is still angry that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attended her father’s funeral, she says.
“They should never have come,” Ms McCain told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live. “I remember seeing them and seeing her specifically. They had no God-d*** business being there and it’s something that still angers me, clearly.”
John McCain, the six-term Republican senator and two-time presidential candidate, had pointedly declined to invite then-president Donald Trump to his funeral in 2018. By that time, Mr McCain was deep into a feud with Mr Trump, who blamed the senator for sinking his attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
But for some reason, Mr Trump’s daughter and son-in-law did attend, and Ms McCain is still not sure why.
“I’ve heard lots of different stories,” said Ms McCain, who has called the couple “funeral crashers” in her memoir. “One of my dad’s old advisers told me that it was just an event that they wanted to go to because his funeral at the National Cathedral ended up being this enormous moment. I was told Lindsey Graham invited him. I’ve been told many different things from many different people.”
Cohen’s eyes widened as Ms McCain told her side of the story, clearly still furious.
“So you were happy they came?” Cohen joked, drawing laughter from his guests.
Mr McCain’s funeral was held on 1 September, 2018, a week after the senator died of brain cancer. Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama were all invited, and two of them – presidents Obama and Bush – were invited to speak.
With the incumbent president noticeably excluded, the event became a powerful moment of protest against Mr Trump and his scorched-earth brand of politics.
Ms McCain herself summed up the meaning of the moment in her eulogy for her father.
“We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness,” Ms McCain said through tears. “The real thing. Not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege.”
As she spoke, news footage showed Ms Trump and Mr Kushner in the audience, listening sombrely. But with a rhetorical flourish, Ms McCain made it clear they were not welcome there.
“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great,” she said.