Senator Ben Sasse says he first met Senator McCain after he won his first primary in 2014. In the race, Senator McCain had endorsed against him.
Sasse recalls walking up to McCain and shaking his hand, explaining he had worked on the senator’s 2008 campaign and expressed how he thought of him as true American hero.
“You’re also kind of a jackass.” Says remembers telling McCain, re-emphasizing that the senator had endorsed against him.
The senator’s jaw dropped, according to Sasse.
“He started dropping the f-bomb at me, which is the way John almost always talked. He’d use the f-word as a verb, a noun and adjective (and) an adverb.” Says Sasse. “And he looked at me and goes ‘You got balls! We’re going to be friends! We’re going to be friends!”
Sasse says McCain never lacked the courage to say what he knew to be true; regardless of the personal and political consequences. He notes it was that quality that made McCain one of the last “truth-tellers” in Washington.
As an example, Sasse recalls a Munich Security Meeting in 2007, where Russian president Vladimir Putin accused America of installing an uni-polar world order in the years following the Cold War.
Sasse says McCain jumped up in the middle of the meeting and called the results of the cold-war a moral victory of democratic ideals over the socialist ideals of Soviet Union.
“He just went up and got in Putin’s grille” says Sasse.
McCain’s work supporting the military made him a favorite among troops.
“I got to go to a lot of warzones with him” says Sasse. “Everybody in the military in the military wanted to have John McCain do their promotions ceremonies.” he says.
Though there was much they did not agree on (McCain’s infamous refusal to dismantle Obamacare in a zero-hour vote comes to mind) Sasse remembers McCain as an unparalleled lion of the world stage who was at his best defending America’s ideals at home and across the world.
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