Contact: Ben Voelkel
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, made the following comments about the late Sen. John McCain during an interview on CNN Friday morning. Video of Sen. Johnson’s comments can be found here.
“John obviously was a larger-than-life figure, and if there is one word that I think symbolizes John, in the end it was healing. He was a feisty guy. You could get in an argument with him pretty fast, but then he was really one of the first people to stand up and say ‘Okay, let’s figure out how we can come together.’ And he’s obviously associated with the phrase ‘serving a cause greater than one’s self.’
“But take a look at his history. Being held in a cage in Vietnam and yet so many years later he almost single-handedly made that move to improve relationships, to establish diplomatic relationships with Vietnam. He healed the situation. And so I think, yes, it’s a very sad moment right now, it’s a sad week. But it can also be very uplifting if you really take a look at what John stood for. He revered this country, he was a patriot, he loved this nation. He realized how important American leadership was in the world, he promoted it tirelessly. I don’t think people realize how hard John worked traveling around the world, how well he’s respected not only here in the Senate, but worldwide. He was not only a national hero here in America, he was a national hero to so many people that were trapped in tyranny, that were seeking freedom, for example, from the Soviet Union.
“I had the pleasure of traveling with him four times over into eastern Europe and he was just a hero in places like Ukraine. People could not get enough of him. They wanted to shake his hand, they wanted to get photos with him. They shouted out ‘John McCain!’ ceaselessly. Again, just a larger-than-life figure. This is the time to reflect, to celebrate a life really well lived.”