While minutes before the sun had shone over the dome, as McCain, carried by an honor guard, ascended the steps, the clouds opened and rain poured down.
Shortly before 11 a.m. McCain's body will enter the Capitol Rotunda.
As he spoke about their shared outrage at the demise of bipartisanship in the Senate, Biden looked to his left and spoke directly to the current senators in attendance, delivering an impromptu lecture about the state of today's Senate.
Biden advised McCain's friends and family to remember snapshots of him, such as a glance or a touch. Senator McCain, we will miss the blessings of being in your presence.
Joe Biden walked up to the microphone on the altar in the church at his friend John McCain's funeral and sounded like a man with something to confess. The president was not invited to McCain's services in D.C., and, as McCain's casket arrived at the church in Phoenix, Trump was tweeting about his grievances with CNN. McCain will be the 31st, joining a select group that includes presidents such as Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. John McCain as a "true American hero" - and a bad driver with a wicked sense of humor and love of a good battle - at a crowded church service Thursday for the maverick politician that ended to the tune of Frank Sinatra's "My Way".
"He held fast to his faith in America through six decades of service. It's brutal, it's relentless... we have to remember how they lived, not how they died", he said. Earlier this week, longtime McCain adviser Rick Davis said Biden is "basically being treated as a member of the family, which of course the family believes he is". Following that, bipartisan leaders - McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Ryan and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi - will present wreaths. "He wanted America to be reminded and to understand".
Fitzgerald was reportedly asked by Cindy McCain, wife of the late senator, a few months ago to speak at the service after a visit to the McCain ranch in Cornville, Arizona. Another McCain son, Douglas, will offer a reading of Scripture at this ceremony. In 2017, shortly after his brain cancer diagnosis, McCain returned to Washington DC, where he cast a crucial vote against a Republican-led effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act - one of Obama's signature policy achievements. Joe Lieberman and actor Warren Beatty were among those pausing at McCain's casket.
McCain served as a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War, and was captured and held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi for five and a half years during the conflict.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, told reporters of McCain "We need people with his values here". Lindsey Graham. While in the chamber, Cindy McCain sat in her husband's chair.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is among speakers at the church service, which will be attended by dozens of senators, other politicians and some professional athletes.
"He was always there to welcome us - just a very special man", Benson said."Maybe we disagreed with what he had to say sometimes, but we always came out of his office feeling good".
"I trusted John with my life", Biden said. "Because we were both cockeyed optimists".
Dabbing his eyes early in his speech, Biden said the two men got to know each other while making overseas trips together.
The statesman and former prisoner of war died August 25 of brain cancer, days shy of his 82nd birthday. In his final message to the American public, McCain celebrated the honor that serving had been.