The president will be absent for John McCain’s memorial services – a clear sign of his failure to accept the responsibilities of a head of state

“The lion of the US Senate,” said Barack Obama during a stirring eulogy at the funeral mass for Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009. Listening at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston were George W Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Senator John McCain.

Related: ‘A true American hero’: friends and family bid John McCain farewell

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