Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were both in attendance at John McCain's funeral, although President Donald Trump was not

September 03, 2018 02:00 PM

There’s a simple explanation behind why Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attended John McCain’s funeral on Saturday: They were invited.

In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close friend of Sen. McCain’s, shared that “nobody was at that funeral that did not get invited by the family.”

“Earlier in the week, I met with Ivanka about a trip we’re planning in Africa,” Sen. Graham said after denying that he was responsible for the couple’s presence at the service.

He also noted that “Ivanka said some very nice things about Sen. McCain after his passing.”

“It was not unnoticed by the family,” Sen. Graham remarked.

The first daughter’s appearance at Washington National Cathedral with Kushner was a surprise for many people after so much attention was paid to President Trump’s exclusion from a week’s worth of memorial services. A McCain family source told PEOPLE that the McCain family did not want President Trump to attend after his years of insulting and mocking the senator, Vietnam veteran and former POW. 

RELATED: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Attend John McCain’s Funeral While President Heads to Golf Course

During the interview on CNN, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, another close friend of the late senator, added that the couple had “no complaints” about the service, despite the digs at President Trump that were made during eulogies.

“They felt that the whole service was a great tribute to [McCain] and elevating,” he remarked.

When asked how they felt about Meghan McCain‘s emotional tribute to her father, during which she made a few pointed remarks about the president, Sen. Graham said, “She is her father’s daughter.”

“If you say something bad about her dad, you will know it, whether you’re the janitor or the president of the United States. She is grieving for the father she adored. I think most Americans understand that,” he added.

Lieberman agreed, remarking, “She was direct…the way John was.”

RELATED VIDEO: Meghan McCain Rebukes President Trump in Emotional Eulogy to Father John McCain

While memorializing her father, Meghan said on Saturday that “the America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold.”

“She is resourceful and confident and secure. She meets her responsibilities. She speaks quietly because she is strong. America does not boast because she has no need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be great again because America was always great,” she added, referencing President Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Meghan McCain
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/REX/Shutterstock

RELATED: Barack Obama and George W. Bush Make Veiled References to Trump While Memorializing John McCain

There was also a reference to President Trump’s previous criticism of Sen. McCain.

“We live in an era where we knock down old American heroes for all their imperfections, when no leader wants to admit to fault or failure,” Meghan said, going on to talk to her late father. “You were an exception, and you gave us an ideal to strive for. Look, I know you can see this gathering here in this cathedral. The nation is here to remember you.”

During separate tributes, former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama also appeared to make a few swipes at the president.

President Trump and Sen. McCain publicly were at odds several times over recent years. In 2015, Trump criticized Sen. McCain’s military service. “He’s not a war hero,” he said, referring to the five and a half years Sen. McCain spent fighting for his life as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

After a hot mic tape of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women was leaked, McCain withdrew his endorsement and announced in a statement that he would not vote for Trump — nor his opponent, Hillary Clinton — in the 2016 presidential election.

Last year, Sen. McCain voted no on Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and this year, Trump seemed to avoid talk of Sen. McCain’s terminal health.

After McCain’s family announced he would no longer be seeking medical treatment for stage-four brain cancer on Aug. 24, Trump was not among the politicians from both sides of the aisle to send his well wishes.

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