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So far, Republican senators lukewarm on Schumer's McCain proposal

On the same night Sen. John McCain's death was announced, Senate Minority Leader ...

Posted: Aug 28, 2018 7:54 PM

On the same night Sen. John McCain's death was announced, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wanted to change the name of the Russell Senate Office Building after his friend.

But while beloved by his colleagues, Republican senators were mixed in their support for the idea on Monday, as they wandered into the Senate on the first day of session since McCain's passing -- his desk draped in a black cloth and topped with white roses.

Chuck Schumer

David Perdue

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

John McCain

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Political Figures - US

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Politics

Richard Russell

US Congress

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US Republican Party

US Senate

Schumer's plan to introduce a resolution left senators scrambling Monday evening as they returned. Georgia Democratic Sen. Richard Brevard Russell, whom the Senate building is currently named for, was a segregationist who was opposed the Civil Rights Act. Russell served from 1933 to 1971 and helped write the Southern Manifesto, which outlined congressional opposition to racial desegregation.

Republican leaders insist they want to honor McCain's more than three-decades long legacy in the Senate in a serious way, but many cautioned it was too soon to decide exactly how to commemorate his service. Underlying the discussion is the residual animosity between McCain and President Donald Trump, who only praised the Vietnam War veteran's service and sacrifice 48 hours after his death was announced.

Too soon?

After he delivered a stirring tribute to McCain on the floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked about naming the building after McCain and said only "we'll be talking about the best ways to honor Sen. McCain in the days ahead."

Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, said he's open to Schumer's suggestion.

"I am open to that. I think we ought to have a little discussion about changing the name of a building. But certainly John McCain should be recognized in some way. That's been suggested and it would come through the Rules Committee, I would think," said Blunt, chairman of Rules Committee. "And I think we should actually let at least this week pass before we start talking about how we're going to memorialize Sen. McCain."

John Thune, the No. 3 Senate Republican, said senators were "very interested in honoring Sen. McCain," but "I don't know about the specific idea that has been put out there."

"I am sure we will want to do something. It's something we'll want to talk about," Thune said.

'McCain was a hero'

Others were more open to Schumer's proposal.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican who is not running for re-election, said he thought renaming the Russell office building would be a good idea.

"I would be glad to do that. I think, you know, Russell was a powerhouse here but most people don't know who he was. And McCain? McCain was a hero whether you liked some of his approach is or not. I liked them and I'd be for that," said Hatch, currently the longest serving Republican senator holding office.

Sen. Tim Scott said that he would also back the idea.

"John McCain has served his country in many facets and a building named after him makes a lot of sense to me," said Scott, the only black Republican senator. "I think the fact of the matter is a prisoner of war for five years who decides to stay there, someone who served in Congress, served in the United States Senate, someone who believed in American exceptionalism. Sounds like a good idea."

It's complicated ...

The question of whether to rename the Russell Senate office building for McCain is a complicated one for Republicans, putting them at odds with a President who has carried on an adversarial relationship with McCain from the early days of his campaign.

"He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK?" Trump said on the campaign trail. "I hate to tell you. He's a war hero because he was captured. OK?"

The relationship between McCain and Trump continued to be tested in the months ahead. In July 2017, McCain voted against a narrow bill that would have advanced Trump's pursuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a move that Trump blasted McCain for at rallies even as the Arizona battled cancer.

While Trump's signature wouldn't be required for a Senate resolution, the tug of war Republicans may feel could be a factor.

Russell's defender

Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican who holds Russell's seat, defended the building's current namesake.

"This was an icon in the United States Senate. He was Lyndon Johnson's close adviser. They did the Great Society together. So, people would criticize Richard Russell for maybe being on the wrong side of the integration movement, but my goodness he turned around and got the school lunch program done. He did that himself," Perdue said, adding that Russell was also a stalwart on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Perdue said he would be opposed to moving forward right now with renaming Russell after McCain and would object on the floor if a member moved to do that. He noted it was hypothetical to assume someone would at this point.

Perdue said he talked to Trump Monday morning about spending bills, judicial nominees and McCain's passing, but he would not comment on if Trump talked with him about renaming the Russell building.

"We talked about John McCain passing. Let's just leave it at that, OK?" Perdue said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295675

Reported Deaths: 6743
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19690230
Hinds18812389
Harrison16722280
Rankin12725265
Jackson12603228
Lee9691160
Madison9466203
Jones7978147
Forrest7217138
Lauderdale6836226
Lowndes6031140
Lamar588480
Lafayette5736113
Washington5218130
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Panola430894
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Warren4130115
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Marshall403392
Monroe3990126
Union395674
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3544103
Hancock347975
Leflore3376118
Sunflower318986
Tate302974
Pike300796
Scott293970
Alcorn291862
Itawamba290075
Yazoo289963
Tippah278965
Coahoma278668
Copiah278158
Simpson275879
Prentiss269858
Wayne254241
Marion252778
Leake252671
Covington248980
Grenada247578
Adams234678
George231845
Newton229952
Winston221777
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201152
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170939
Clarke169371
Calhoun157928
Smith152832
Yalobusha144836
Greene127733
Walthall124240
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry121734
Lawrence120421
Carroll118425
Amite111734
Webster110631
Jefferson Davis101931
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93524
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77214
Franklin76119
Choctaw69617
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48917
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 494421

Reported Deaths: 9991
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson711451374
Mobile36184735
Madison32457458
Tuscaloosa24213412
Montgomery22636517
Shelby22020214
Baldwin19790284
Lee14980154
Morgan13693251
Calhoun13307287
Etowah13192320
Marshall11269209
Houston10102261
Elmore9408185
Limestone9376134
Cullman8903181
St. Clair8839224
Lauderdale8601212
DeKalb8465175
Talladega7552164
Walker6538258
Jackson6503103
Autauga630391
Blount6106127
Colbert5993119
Coffee5254102
Dale4648107
Russell405233
Franklin399478
Covington3970106
Chilton3883100
Escambia378172
Tallapoosa3596143
Clarke343753
Chambers3421111
Dallas3412141
Pike293372
Lawrence283684
Marion283495
Winston247368
Bibb245460
Geneva240270
Marengo236557
Pickens224555
Barbour212451
Hale210668
Fayette200957
Butler197566
Henry182641
Cherokee177139
Monroe166339
Randolph163840
Washington156635
Crenshaw145254
Clay145054
Macon142343
Cleburne137841
Lamar133133
Lowndes131251
Wilcox122525
Bullock117136
Conecuh106724
Perry105827
Sumter98632
Coosa89224
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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