McCain is to be buried Sunday in a private ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery. John McCain's service at the National Cathedral, but his daughter Ivanka Trump and Jarad Kushner arrived Saturday to view the service. McCain, a naval aviator, was shot down during the Vietnam War and spent 5 1/2 years as a POW.
Meghan McCain opened the service with an impassioned tribute to her father, saying "he was a great man".
Eight years later, he won the nomination in a contest that seemed nearly predestined only to lose the election to Obama, who became America's first black president.
Trump is not on hand for the ceremony, after McCain's family made clear he was not invited.
McCain's casket had remained overnight in the Capitol rotunda, where thousands of mourners had filed past on the day before to say goodbye as McCain lay in state.
"We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served", she said, her voice raising from tearful to anger.
Mr McCain "served his country honourably", Mr Pence said, adding that Mr Trump "respected his service to the country".
On Saturday, a motorcade will take McCain's casket past the capital's stately monuments en route to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where Cindy McCain will place a wreath at the black, v-shaped granite wall inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 US soldiers killed in combat.
Tributes to the late Republican senator from Arizona will come from ex-Presidents Barack Obama, a Democrat who defeated McCain in the 2008 White House race, and George W. Bush, who won the 2000 GOP nomination over McCain.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC, a close friend of McCain's, and McCain's children Jimmy and Sidney McCain will take part in the ceremony as well.
She described "the America of John McCain" as the America of the Revolution, Abraham Lincoln and members of the armed services. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence all gave remarks honoring McCain at a morning ceremony.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Sen.
The motorcade carrying McCain's flag-draped casket paused on its way from the Capitol to the cathedral Saturday at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The White House did not immediately answer questions about his destination. He was critical of Trump until the end, slamming his meeting with Putin in July as "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in recent memory".
On the way to Washington's National Cathedral, the cortege of one of America's most famous prisoners of war will stop at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where his wife, Cindy McCain, will lay a wreath to honor those who died in the war. Obama said that despite their differences, they both "saw this country as a place where anything is possible - and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way".
Pallbearers for Saturday's service reflect the eclectic political company McCain kept, which helped him earn the reputation of a maverick willing to work with the other side of the aisle. He died of brain cancer on August 25 at the age of 81.