TAMPA, FL—Republican National Convention officials are confirming that John McCain, the five-term senator from Arizona and former presidential nominee, has just shot and killed himself during his address to GOP delegates.
McCain—who at various points during his speech seemed out of sorts and apparently went off prompter to ask the assembled crowd, “What has this party become? What have I become?”—reportedly pulled out a .22-caliber Magnum revolver from his jacket pocket, held it to his head, stared unblinkingly at the crowd, and pulled the trigger, sending frightened attendees into a chaotic frenzy and his own limp body to the ground.
At press time, the convention hall had been cleared.
“John McCain shot himself,” a visibly shaken Republican delegate told reporters as medical personnel rushed the stage. “He started rambling on about how somebody needed to send a message that this party had veered too far off course, and how if nobody else was going to do it, he would. Next thing I knew, I heard a gunshot.”
“He’s dead,” the delegate added. “John McCain is dead.”
Though sources are confirming that McCain was seen talking and joking with fellow Republicans prior to his address, and that he gave no indication he was concealing a firearm, those close to the senator have said he privately expressed frustrated with the GOP as his position in the party weakened following his loss in the 2008 presidential election.
Moreover, reports are now surfacing that McCain repeatedly referred to the 2004 RNC address in which he endorsed George W. Bush as the “most humiliating experience of [his] life.”
While witnesses said that McCain waved, smiled, and “seemed perfectly fine” at the outset of his speech, they noted that minutes into the address the senator paused and glared at someone’s “Romney-Ryan 2012” sign, at which point he stopped speaking, took a deep breath, and—appearing somewhat dazed—asked the crowd, “Um…where were we?” which drew a round of uncomfortable laughter.
“Tonight we come together in this hall to support the next president of the United States, Mitt Romney,” said McCain, who then shook his head, wiped beads of sweat from his brow, and muttered “Mitt Romney” to himself in a tone that many identified as troubled and confused. “Mitt Romney is a, uh…is a man of great moral character who stands for the sort of values this great party embodies—fairness, tolerance, giving the average American a chance. Mitt Romney is a hero.”
“Folks, I can’t do this,” McCain added. “I just can’t do this anymore.”
Convention attendees said that McCain then went on a somewhat incoherent tangent about reaching the the end of his career and having “regrets—more regrets than I thought I’d ever have.” He said his missteps included taking certain positions on issues purely for his own political gain, not standing up to his party on immigration reform and climate change, introducing Sarah Palin to the world, and “sometimes just not doing what was right even though I knew, I definitely knew I was wrong.”
At one point, McCain, who was once known as a political maverick, asked the crowd when “moderate” became a four-letter word.
“My friends, I’m not going to be around much longer, so I want to tell you this,” said McCain, a decorated Vietnam war hero. “I am for same-sex marriage if it’s implemented in an incremental way that makes sense. I am for a woman’s right to choose. I believe that human beings have caused this planet to overheat, and that those of you ignoring this issue should be ashamed of yourselves. Immigrants who arrived here as children should be given a path to citizenship. And the income gap in this country is unacceptable. I have always believed these things. And I also believe that this party’s hard turn to the right is detrimental to the well-being and progress of this entire country.”
“Goodbye,” McCain added, and then put a bullet into his head.
John Sidney McCain III was born on Aug. 29, 1936, at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone. He is survived by his mother, Roberta; his wife, Cindy; and his seven children. He was 76.