Few returning Republicans have displayed much appetite for taking on McCain's role as a legislator willing to openly challenge the scandal-plagued president
The US Senate gets back to work in full Tuesday after a summer break, with the death of John McCain leaving his Republican party absent a crucial voice of resistance to President Donald Trump.
Few returning Republicans have displayed much appetite for taking on McCain's role as a legislator willing to openly challenge the scandal-plagued president.
Instead, with Trump still highly popular with the party's base and Republican control of Congress under the gun in November midterm elections, Senate Republicans appeared likely to fall in line behind the White House.
Democrats as well as Republicans have been effusive in their praise of McCain, celebrating his storied military career and 31 years representing Arizona in the US Senate.
In a bitterly fractured Washington, McCain feistily stood up against extremism and worked across party lines to build consensus in a Senate split 51-49 for Republicans.
"He didn't vote to score political points, he voted to make democracy work," Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wrote in a tribute Tuesday.
"In stark relief to what now passes for our politics, he continues to serve as a beacon to who we are and who we can be when we are at our best," fellow Republican Senator Jeff Flake said on the Senate floor.
"We owe it to his memory to try to be more like him."
McCain's death could give Trump even greater leverage over a rightward-tilting Republican party as he fights for his political life against the Russia meddling and obstruction investigations.
McCain, who will be buried Sunday, is likely to be replaced by a more conservative, toe-the-line appointee.
Flake, another relative moderate in the party, is retiring.
And Senator Susan Collins, who many have looked to resist the president's most extreme tendencies, appeared to be uncomfortable taking that torch.
"Indeed, a Democratic senator just spoke to me on the floor and was very kind and said, 'You know we're all looking to you now.'"
"But I would not begin to compare myself to John McCain, I really wouldn't. His strength and resilience were extraordinary."