John McCain's powerful election speech shows 'what's missing in 2020'

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·3-min read

A speech from Republican candidate John McCain conceding in the US election in 2008 is going viral as Americans notice a stark difference to President Donald Trump’s latest address.

As the race to the White House between Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden remains tight, the president falsely claimed on Thursday night (local time) his opposing party was trying to “steal” the election and he “easily won”.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain concedes defeat to Democrat Barack Obama during his election night rally at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain concedes defeat to Democrat Barack Obama in 2008. Source: Reuters

His comments are a far cry from John McCain’s humble concession speech in 2008 after Barrack Obama claimed a landslide victory.

McCain said it was an honour to congratulate Obama on his win and as his Republican followers booed, McCain gestured with his hands for the crowd to hush despite their support of him.

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“In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance,” McCain said.

“But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who would once wrongly believe they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.”

McCain’s gracious tribute

He paid special tribute to Obama being the first African-American president of the United States, saying he achieved a “great thing” for himself and the country.

“I pledged to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face,” McCain said.

“I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences, help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a strong, better country than we inherited.”

While McCain put party differences aside and graciously took a step back as Obama claimed victory, 12 years on President Trump is filing lawsuits demanding vote recounts and refusing to accept Biden’s victory in a number of key battleground states.

On Thursday night (local time) Trump hit out at mail-in votes and falsely claimed they were corrupt and destroying the system.

US TV networks including CBS, MSNBC and ABC cut away from his speech after just a minute, with hosts slamming the president for telling lies.

People commend respect that used to exist in politics

The video of McCain’s speech has resurfaced amid the 2020 US election, with thousands praising McCain for having humility that is seemingly missing from the latest campaign.

“That election was heated and passionate, but respectful. There is no respect anymore,” one said on Facebook.

“While I didn’t agree with him on most things, I respected him and his dedication, love, and servitude of this country. He was a patriot and will always be remembered as such. A true exemplar for what once was the Republican Party,” another commented.

“Seems like a different era of American politics ... didn't agree with a lot of his viewpoints but damn, he represented the best of the Republicans,” a third added.

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