Lindsey Graham honored John McCain on the Senate floor Tuesday following his death on Aug. 25

By Robyn Merrett
August 28, 2018 06:59 PM
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Credit: Senator Lindsey Graham/Youtube

Sen. Lindsey Graham tearfully honored his late friend Sen. John McCain.

“I have been thinking about this, I have been dreading this and I am now going to do this,” the 63-year-old South Carolina Republican said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Graham, who was standing just a few feet away from McCain’s former desk, struggled to fight back tears as he told a number of stories, memories and jokes he shared with the late war hero.

“The more he humiliated you, the more he liked you. In that regard, I was well served,” Graham continued after revealing McCain had given him the nickname, “Lil’ jerk.”

He later explained the many lessons McCain taught him, recalling, “He taught me that honor and imperfection are always in competition.”

“I do not cry for a perfect man. I cry for a man who had honor and always was willing to admit his imperfection,” Graham continued. “If you’re thinking about getting in politics, the one thing I would ask you to look at when it comes to the life of John McCain is that it’s okay to tell people, I screwed up.”

Graham added, “I got this wrong, I want to make it right. Honor is in my view, doing the right thing at your own expense, and he did that time and time again.”

Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham
| Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

“He taught me that life without passion and love is a sad life. He lived life to its fullest. He was often disappointed, but he was never deterred from getting back up and going at it again,” Graham said. “Love– not a word often associated with Sen. McCain, but it should be. … My name is Graham not McCain, but I feel like a McCain. I don’t know if I’ve earned that honor, but I feel like it.”

Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham
| Credit: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty

As for McCain’s legacy, Graham believes he will be influential for years to come.

“John will inspire courage, he will reinforce the idea that nothing is inevitable as long as a few people are willing to fight for what they believe is right. It is going to be a lonely journey for a while,” Graham said.

“I am going to need your help, and the void to be filled by John’s passing is more than I can do. Don’t look to me to replace this man. Look to me to remember what he was all about and try to follow in his footsteps.”

“If you want to help the country, be more like John McCain. I believe there is a little John McCain in all of us, and the little John McCain practice by a lot of people can make this a really great nation,” Graham concluded.

RELATED VIDEO: Senator John McCain Dies at Age 81

McCain died on Aug. 25 after battling stage-four brain cancer. He was 81.

News of his death came one day after the McCain family announced that the six-time Arizona senator, “with his usual strength of will,” decided to stop treatment for the stage-four brain cancer he had been battling since its diagnosis last summer.

In July 2017, McCain revealed that he had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, just days after he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye.