We Learned What John McCain Really Thinks of Donald Trump, Plus Other Little-Known Secrets About His Thoughts on Death

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2017. Amid carrying out his sixth and now final term in the Senate, McCain released an excerpt from his forthcoming memoir, The Restless Wave.

Ahead, find out some of McCain’s hopes for the future of the Trump administration, the United States government, and the country. Plus, learn the quote he’s living by and his thoughts on death (page 7).

1. He recognized this is his last term

Meghan McCain and John McCain

John McCain realizes this is his last term. | Meghan McCain via Instagram

“If I hadn’t admitted that to myself before this summer, a stage 4 cancer diagnosis acts as ungentle persuasion,” McCain wrote, according to CNN. A ferocious optimist, he touched on the good in knowing he was in his final term rather than the bad.

McCain feels open to speak to his colleagues and express his views without worrying about consequences or facing re-election. “I don’t feel excused from keeping pledges I made,” he wrote, according to Time. “… But I do feel a pressing responsibility to give Americans my best judgment.”

Next: McCain’s excerpt had one overarching theme.

2. He hopes to see the partisan divide narrow before he leaves office

a joint session of congress hears the state of the union address

Congress hasn’t been this divided in decades. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

McCain touched on the factors that contribute to the gridlock in Washington. Among them is how each American has their own painstakingly crafted timeline of news — and how Americans mostly befriend those who share their views (and “troll” those who do not).

“I don’t remember another time in my life when so many Americans considered someone’s partisan affiliation a test of whether that person was entitled to their respect,” he wrote, according to NPR.

Next: He believes this can make or break the country.

3. He stressed the importance of humility

US Senator John McCain looks on during a meeting with Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah at the Sapedar Palace in Kabul on December 25, 2014. Mccain met with Afghanistan's CEO Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul on December 25, less than a week before the December 31 end of NATO's combat mission in the country. NATO-led US troops are wrapping up their mission in Afghanistan after 13 years, but about 12,500 NATO troops -- most of them from the US -- will stay in Afghanistan into next year on a follow-up mission to support the national security forces. Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

John McCain thinks politicians need to be more humble. | Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

“There is a scarcity of humility in politics these days. … And I don’t mean modesty. Any politician worth a damn can fake modesty,” McCain wrote, according to The Daily Beast.

He relayed his belief that modesty is a superficial expression that can easily be feigned, while “humility is the self-knowledge that you possess as much inherent dignity as anyone else.” McCain argued the congressmen and women who expressed humility and often take a backseat to the more flashy politicians are “usually the ones who get the most done,” according to The Hill.

Next: The American people must take some of the blame, as well.

4. He believes Americans need to learn how to disagree

a line of white voting booths with American flags on them

He thinks extremist candidates have no place in Washington. | Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

McCain put some of the responsibility in voters’ hands. He argued the same voters who dislike Washington and feel “all we do is argue” are the ones who vote for candidates with strong, adamant beliefs. Those politicians, more often than not, were the ones who McCain felt couldn’t compromise — or get much done.

Next: McCain’s candid thoughts on Donald Trump.

5. He feels Trump puts his ego over America’s best interests

Donald trump making face

John McCain doesn’t trust that Donald Trump has America’s best interests at heart. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

McCain warned his readers against believing in candidates who promise to fix the country’s problems without bridging the partisan divide.

The senator references Donald Trump’s motives directly. “He has declined to distinguish the actions of our government from the crimes of despotic ones,” he wrote. “The appearance of toughness … seems to matter more than any of our values.”

Next: This media trend is problematic, as well.

6. He thinks the ‘fake news’ trend will be hard to get over

Sean Hannity Fox News

TV personalities, such as Sean Hannity, have been instrumental in pushing the “fake news” narrative. | Fox News

The senator wrote how various, individualized news sources only further polarize the political parties. These “facts” — which tend to lean left or right based on the source — give the country a breeding ground to grow arguments.

“That’s a social trend that is going to be very hard to turn around,” McCain wrote. “It will require a persistent effort to identify and insist on what is objectively true and what isn’t by the press, by media companies, and by honest people in public life.”

Next: McCain’s thoughts on leaving government and his illness

7. The excerpt ended with McCain’s final thoughts on leaving government

John McCain is sad to be leaving this world. | Meghan McCain via Instagram

McCain wishes to see America’s politics return to their roots and for the American people to remember they share more similarities than differences.

“‘The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,’ spoke my hero, Robert Jordan … And I do, too. I hate to leave it,” McCain wrote. “I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times.”

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