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NATO is considering naming its headquarters after Sen. John McCain

Key Points
  • NATO, the world's most powerful military alliance, is considering naming its new billion-dollar headquarters in honor of the late Sen. John McCain.
  • McCain made frequent visits to NATO member countries throughout his political career and frequently criticized Russia's maligned activities to undermine the alliance. He also voiced disappointment with President Donald Trump's handling of the U.S. relationship with NATO.
  • He died Saturday after a year-long fight with brain cancer. He was 81.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 
William Thomas Cain | Getty Images

NATO, the world's most powerful military alliance, is considering naming its new, billion-dollar headquarters in Brussels in honor of the late Sen. John McCain.

The proposal from British Parliament member Tom Tugendhat would be "considered carefully," NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said in a statement. "The Secretary-General has tremendous respect for Senator John McCain," she added.

"John McCain – soldier and senator, American and Atlanticist. He will be remembered both in Europe and North America for his courage and character, and as a strong supporter of NATO. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones," Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary-general, tweeted on Saturday.

The move to name the NATO headquarters comes on the heels of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's proposal to rename the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington after McCain. However, Schumer's resolution was not immediately embraced by some Republicans. The building is named for Sen. Richard Russell, a Georgia Democrat who staunchly opposed civil-rights legislation and supported racial segregation. Russell, who was also an advocate for the military and poor children, died in 1971 after nearly 40 years in the Senate.

McCain, who was known at home and abroad as America's warrior politician, died Saturday after a year-long fight with brain cancer. The 81-year-old was a naval aviator, prisoner of war during Vietnam, conservative statesman, presidential candidate and strong supporter of the Western alliance.

Read more: Tributes, condolences pour in following Sen. McCain's death

McCain made frequent visits to NATO member countries throughout his political career and frequently criticized Russia's moves to undermine the alliance. He also voiced disappointment with President Donald Trump's handling of the U.S. relationship with NATO partners.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks with Senator John McCain on Capitol Hill in 2016.
NATO photo

Trump, who threatened to reduce U.S. military support if NATO allies did not increase spending, attended the inauguration of the new headquarters in Brussels in May.

Calling attention to NATO's finances, Trump said, "I never asked, once, what the new NATO headquarters cost — I refuse to do that." The building cost a little more than $1 billion, according to a NATO report.

"President Trump's performance at the NATO summit in Brussels was disappointing, yet ultimately unsurprising. There is little use in parsing the president's misstatements and bluster, except to say that they are the words of one man," McCain following Trump's visit in July.

"Americans, and their Congress, still believe in the transatlantic alliance … and it is clear that our allies still believe in us as well," he added.