McCain stops treatment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arizona Sen. John McCain has discontinued medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, his family said Friday, likely indicating the war hero, presidential nominee and longtime leading lawmaker is nearing the end of his life.

McCain has surpassed expectations for survival, but “the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict,” the family said. “With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”

The six-term GOP senator, who would turn 82 next week, has been away from the Capitol since last December. If he should resign his seat or die soon, Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey would name a replacement to serve until the 2020 election. The winner of that election would serve the remainder of McCain’s term through 2022.

In more than three decades in Congress, McCain became known as a political maverick willing to stick to his convictions rather than go along with party leaders — an independent streak that has drawn a mix of respect and ire.

Most recently, he has been a thorn in the side of President Donald Trump, keeping up his criticism of the White House even while undergoing severe medical treatment in Arizona.

In July, he issued a searing rebuke of Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling it a “tragic mistake” and “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

The strained relationship between Trump and McCain dates back to 2015, when Trump suggested the Vietnam veteran, who spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison after his Navy plane was shot down, was not a war hero.

The ill will grew after McCain voted in 2017 against a Republican replacement for “Obamacare.” He doomed the bill with a dramatic thumbs-down on the Senate floor. Complaints about McCain’s vote have become a staple of Trump’s campaign speeches. He doesn’t mention McCain by name but makes clear his intent by mockingly imitating the thumbs-down gesture.

The feud between the two men has persisted even amid the decline in McCain’s health. While political leaders of both parties paid tribute to McCain and offered prayers Friday, Trump and the White House remained silent.

Earlier this month, Trump signed a military policy bill named for McCain, but he made no mention of McCain at a signing ceremony.

The son and grandson of Navy admirals, McCain is a former Navy pilot. He was elected to Congress in 1982 and to the Senate four years later, replacing the retired Barry Goldwater.

Despite his famous stubborn streak and occasional orneriness, McCain is widely admired on both sides of the aisle, and tributes poured in Friday after the family announced the treatment decision.

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