tv U.S. Senate Sen. Sasse Tribute to John Mc Cain CSPAN August 28, 2018 9:16pm-9:31pm EDT
chemotherapy and his voice was faltering. we sat and we talked first about the sesta legislation and cindy's role. john always had a funny line, in this case he joked saying, passing that legislation will save my marriage. then he started talking about his kids. he went into detail about what they were doing, especially his sons in the military and what they were accomplishing and his daughter megan and her work in the media world and how proud he was of them. his voice strengthened and his eyes shown with proud as he talk bd each of them. i muttered something about that being another part of his legacy, and he gave me that crooked smile. family and country first. my wife jean and i send our condolences to john's amazing wife, cindy, to his seven proud sons and daughter, and to the
entire mccain family. godspeed, john mccain. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. sasse: thank you, mr. president. like so many today, i rise to honor john mccain, to sing john mccain's praises. there are many here, most here who knew him longer than i did. i'll admit that when you and i, mr. president, first got here in 2014, i knew john mccain as somebody from the history books. i knew john mccain as somebody destined for the history books. i knew john mccain as an american hero. but i didn't know john mccain the man. i didn't know john mccain, the flesh and blood, genuinely hilarious guy. but over the past 48 months i had the privilege of actually getting to become friends with john mccain.
it's sort of weird to say when you're our age -- you're a good bit older than i am, but when you're roughly our age, mr. president, i'm 46 and john mccain was an octogenarian, and he befriended me. i've been on many overnights with john mccain, i've been to war zones with john mccain. i've been cussed out by john mccain lots of times. he would call me stupid bastard on a regular basis and he meant it affectionately. i'm convinced he didn't use the term stupid bastard lately. he reserved it for those he cared about. i have laughed and cried with john mccain. i wrestled policy with john mccain. i got to grill hamburgers and serve them to troops on the 4th of july with john mccain. as we in this body praise john mccain today and for the rest of this week, as we rightly
should, there's going to be a lot of people talking about his time in the hanoi hilton. john mccain was in prison to fight for our freedom for more than five years. he was in solitary confinement for about three years. he was tortured for years. and if you ever met any of the p.o.w.'s that were in the cells around him, almost to a man they credit the fact that they didn't lose their minds during that time to the fact that john mccain kept them sane. he kept them stable. john mccain told me a story one time on one of those overnight flights, and he's told it to many other people around here, about tap code, which is something sort of akin to morse code. but new folks in the army learned tap code, and it's a way to kind of spell out a five by five grid and you can put letters together and make words and make sentences and make paragraphs. and john mccain thought it was very important that the men who were in prison with him would learn to tell each other
stories. they would tell poems that they knew from their youth. they would tap out songs that they knew from when they were kids. because if they had a sense of history past, they would have a sense of hope and history future. and john mccain kept those people sane. i remember one time hearing him wax on and on about the story and i was in awe about how long it must have taken to persuade these men they were going to teach each other songs and poetry from their youth. i said how long did it take to do that? he looked at me like i was an idiot. what did i care? we had infinite time, you moron. he didn't say you moron but how do you not get time is the one thing that is completely irrelevant when you're in prison. if something takes too long that's a virtue, not a liability. one of the things we don't tell here but need to tell more is the connection about how he thought about time and why he acted the way he acted as a senator. if we're going to want to honor
john mccain around here, one of the most basic things we should do is recognize that the reason he didn't suffer fools lightly is because he had a concept of time that was as a man who spent five and a half years in prison, he wanted to redeem the time. after he was released, he wanted to make sure that he spent all of his time on big things. his impatience, his volcanic temper flowed from the fact that he thought life was too short to waste on small stuff and if you were willing to do small stuff he was going to get in your grill. the fact that john mccain was a hero was because of the way he endured torture on our behalf and because he ran over big issues and often interacted with people rudely in the senate they were inex-treufrpbgably linked. if we're going to honor john mccain we have to understand his impatience was a factor of
his mission. how do we honor this man? it's an important conversation. my understanding is the two leaders are going to get together and put together a commission to deliberate over the next many weeks or months about the proper way to honor john mccain. i'm glad they're doing that. there's a lot of discussion about renaming a building after him or renaming a different committee room after him. some of those tributes may be the right tributes. i'm not meaning to prejudge that right now. obviously there's something hilarious about the idea that a senate office building may be renamed after john mccain because if you had the mccain s.o.b., it's obvious what john mccain would want you to call that mccain s.o.b. building all the time. so there are important things to talk about, and yet i want to urge one bit of caution, which is we should not think that what john mccain would want us to do in this time and place is in any way reducible to marble. because just as america is not
the sum of her cities, so too the united states senate is not the sum of its buildings. the united states senate is not the places where we meet. as john reminded us in his farewell charge read posthumously yesterday, as john reminded us, america is an idea. america is a cause. america is about liberty. america is about justice. america is about universal human dignity. and even though john could often run over you when you were having a debate and argument if you were in his way, probably more than any person i've ever met, john actually believed in universal human dignity. the reason he was so big on the global stage is because he stood in the tradition of 230 years long announcing what america believes about 7.5 billion people that are created in god's image with universal dignity and that implies to everybody everywhere. it isn't america's job to fix every problem everywhere but it is part of america's mission in
the world to proclaim that universal human dignity and that's what john did. that was a huge part of his calling. unfortunately we all know all too well that when the public looks at this institution right now, when the public looks to this city, they don't see a place that looks like it's beating heart is to proclaim that universal america idea, to proclaim that american sense that everybody is created with infinite worth. and yet, though we know that, we're not doing that much about it. and this institution, most of the time we finger point. we don't problem solve. and the public is groaning for us to do better. the last few years should be blinking red lights for all of us who are privileged to serve here for a time. when the american people look at washington, they rightly think that it's shady for can be the members and their spouses to be raising money from foreign
sources. when the american people look at washington, they rightly think that there's a whole lot of shady going on and that people's taxes and their finances ought to be disclosed when they're running for an office of public trust. when the american people look at washington, they don't see most members of congress as stewards of the public trust, but rather as hypocrites with taxpayer-funded sexual harassment lawsuits settlements. when the american people look at washington, they think it's weird that the average member of congress has an investment portfolio that grows much faster than the market average, and when people leave jobs in this institution they often head for cush jobs on k street rather than moving back home which is where they said they were going to end up after they ran for office. we've seen multiple indictments across both the legislative and executive branches in recent weeks in this town. is it any wonder that the
american people look at us and they wonder if we really care about the crisis of public trust? is it any wonder that john mccain was impatient with the pace of us tackling big problems in this place? we obviously have a truncated week here and many of us are headed to arizona for a funeral in the next few hours. and so i won't introduce anything now, but i want to say that when we get back and as this commission gets kicked off, trying to figure out the proper way to honor john mccain, i plan to make a proposal that we should find a way to honor john mccain not just in marble -- maybe that's a step that's important. but if john mccain were here i submit to you that john mccain wouldn't be all that concerned about what names and placards and signs we put on buildings and meeting rooms. i think we should find a way to honor john mccain in a way that john mccain would have seen fit, and that is we ought to pass a piece of legislation that we wouldn't have passed absent this moment.
we ought to come together in a bipartisan way and we ought to do something that makes both political parties really uncomfortable. that was one of the things john mccain was great at. this man is gone and we are surely poorer for it, but we can do something big that's in line with the spirit of how he wanted to disrupt this place. if we wanted to make both parties uncomfortable -- and john was a guy who loved to point both barrels at pwoergt -- both parties i think we could find a way to do that in a way the american people would applaud and i think that would be the right way to honor john mccain. his willingness to take on everybody and all the sacred cows in this town was why a lot of people hated him but more why a lot of more people loved him. if we're going to honor his spirit we ought to find a way that's big, disruptive and uncomfortable for washington, d.c. thank you, mr. president.
>> watch c-span this week for live coverage honoring the life of senator john mccain. wednesday would have been the senator's 82nd birthday. before 1:00 p.m. eastern, we will be live with the ceremony in the state capital in phoenix. senator mccain will then lie in state, where members of the public can pay their respects. thursday we will hear from senator mccain's longtime senate colleague joe biden at 1:00 p.m. eastern. after the service, senator mccain's casket is flown to joint airbase interest in maryland. -- andrews in maryland. 1:00 p.m. eastern, senator's body will again lie in viewing for the public. the military at memorial in washington in honor
of her husband's service. speakers include former presidents george w. bush and barack obama. tv's live for book coverage of the 18 anyone national book has -- 18th annual national book festival. our coverage includes viewer call-ins with a pulitzer-winning biographer and "the soul of america." a pulitzer prize-winning historian. and fox news host brian kill watch the 18th annual library of congress national book festival, live on c-span2's book tv,