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Orrin Hatch apologizes to John McCain for funeral comment: 'I shouldn't have said anything'

FILE -- President Donald Trump, left, meets with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) at the White House on Dec. 13, 2017. Interior Department emails obtained by The New York Times in a lawsuit indicate that oil exploration was the central factor in the decision to scale back the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. (Doug Mills/The New York Times/Copyright 2018)

WASHINGTON - Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has apologized to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for saying it was "ridiculous" for McCain to request that President Donald Trump not attend his funeral, a remark that drew a swift rebuke from McCain's daughter Meghan McCain.

"I agree with the daughter," a remorseful Hatch told The Washington Post on Tuesday. "I shouldn't have said anything yesterday. I agree a hundred percent with her."

Hatch also sent a letter to McCain apologizing for his comment and for suggesting that McCain would not return to the Senate, according to a person familiar with its contents. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private exchange.

McCain is at home in Arizona battling a serious form of brain cancer.

"I'd like everybody to take a collective breath and chill out on my dad for a second - especially Orrin Hatch," Meghan McCain said Tuesday, speaking on ABC's "The View," a program she co-hosts.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that McCain's close associates have informed the White House that their plan for his funeral is for Vice President Mike Pence to attend but not Trump. Trump and McCain have a troubled past. As a candidate, Trump had said that McCain, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese.

Hatch told reporters Monday that McCain's funeral plan was "ridiculous," according to multiple reports.

Authors information: Paul Kane is The Washington Post's senior congressional correspondent and columnist. Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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