U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks at a campaign rally in Defiance, Ohio October 30, 2008. McCain is on a two-day campaign bus tour through the state of Ohio. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA) – GM1E4AV00ZR01

McCain | FRONTLINE | Thursday, August 30 at 10

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Following the passing of Sen. John McCain, PBS stations look back on his remarkable life and career in FRONTLINE “McCain.”

McCain – an exploration of Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.)’s complicated relationship with President Trump and the Republican Party, as well as his life and politics.

“No one knows the workings of the modern Republican Party like John McCain,” says Kirk, who with his team has been reporting on McCain for years, including in The Choice 2008. “In McCain, we’ll chronicle how President Trump came to see him as a foe, and examine how the Republican Party has evolved across his political lifetime.”

Drawing on both new interviews and FRONTLINE’s deep archive of reporting, McCain traces the conservative standard-bearer’s motivations and his political history — from his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, to speaking out against torture during the Bush administration, to his dramatic vote against the GOP’s health care bill last year.

“By McCain ending Trump’s initiative, by McCain putting his hand up and saying, ‘Stop,’ it was a roaring back for the Republican establishment,” Robert Costa of The Washington Post and Washington Week tells FRONTLINE.

But the film also examines how, with his 2008 nomination of Sarah Palin as running mate, McCain himself contributed to a growing challenge to the party establishment: “That was really the first time that you had this establishment versus grass roots conflict,” says Republican pollster Frank Luntz.