McCain had requested that Biden deliver a eulogy at his funeral.
Though the two were bitterly opposed on political policy, they enjoyed a friendship born of mutual trust, respect and also sorrow. Both men are famous for their public suffering, from McCain’s infamous years in a Vietnamese prison camp to Biden’s multiple sudden, shocking family bereavements. (They were also both infamously prone to blue language. “I always though of John as a brother,” Biden said in his eulogy. “We had a h*** of a lot of family fights.”)
“It was always about basic values with John,” Biden said. “Fairness, honesty, dignity, respect. Giving hate no safe harbor, leaving no one behind. And understanding that as Americans we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.”
Biden, never one to bury his emotions, wept openly throughout his speech. “I trusted John with my life,” Biden said, adding that “the thing that’s understated the most was his optimism. That’s what made John special, made him a giant among us.”
He ended his speech with a Shakespearean paraphrase: “We shall not see his like again.”