Yesterday, Senator John McCain was laid to rest at a bipartisan, somber funeral at the Washington National Cathedral. McCain was known for making many friends across party lines, but he was decidedly not friendly with President Donald Trump. The late senator expressly did not invite Trump to his funeral. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, however, made an appearance, in a move that has left some onlookers surprised.
The Los Angeles Times reported that McCain had personally overseen arrangements for his funeral prior to his death last week. These arrangements included eulogies by former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, whom he had requested as speakers. McCain also pointedly did not invite the current president, nor did he invite his 2008 running mate, Sarah Palin, and her family.
McCain’s funeral was a by-invitation event. Etiquette expert site Emily Post explicitly says that guests may not attend an important event unless they are specifically named on an invitation: “[T]his is not the time to question your host’s decision, to argue, or to beg for an exception.” It is unknown if Kushner and Ivanka Trump received invites to the ceremony, but Refinery29 has reached out to Meghan McCain, who gave a eulogy for her father at today’s service, for comment.
Given that Trump was not invited, Kushner and Ivanka Trump were the most prominent members of the Trump administration in attendance. However, social etiquette would indicate that any envoys of Trump would not be welcome, because Trump himself was not invited.
The animus between McCain and Trump stems, in part, from a controversial statement that Trump made during in 2015. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said about McCain, who was a Vietnam veteran and a prisoner of war.
Although Trump did not attend, his spectre was still present at the funeral in the words of McCain’s daughter, as well as in mentions by former presidents Obama and Bush, who all made note of the sitting president without stating his name, as McCain undoubtedly would have preferred.