- President Donald Trump on Monday ignored a reporter’s questions on the late Sen. John McCain at least 10 times.
- ABC News reporter John Karl repeatedly asked Trump for his thoughts on McCain’s passing, but the president never answered.
- This occurred as Trump faced criticism over returning the White House flag to full-mast just two days after the Republican senator’s death.
- After widespread criticism, Trump ultimately returned the flag to half-mast on Monday afternoon.
President Donald Trump on Monday ignored a reporter’s questions on the late Sen. John McCain at least 10 times as he faced criticism over returning the White House flag to full-mast just two days after the Republican senator’s death.
ABC News reporter John Karl repeatedly asked Trump for his thoughts on McCain’s passing, but the president never answered.
Karl asked Trump questions such as whether he believed McCain was a hero and whether he would react to calls from veteran’s groups to lower the flag to half-mast to honor the Arizona senator, who was a decorated Vietnam War veteran. At times Karl was standing just a few feet away from the president, but Trump still did not react.
These questions were caught on video, in which Trump can be seen staring straight forward with almost no visible reaction.
"Why won't you say anything about John McCain?"@jonkarl asked Pres. Trump ten times today to comment on Senator John McCain, who passed away this weekend at age 81. The president did not respond. https://t.co/HebITj8csN pic.twitter.com/iwKYhGRaNj
— ABC News (@ABC) August 27, 2018
Trump, who had a contentious relationship with McCain, was broadly criticized Monday for not issuing a proclamation to keep the flag at half-mast at government and military buildings until the late senator’s interment at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on Sunday.
US flag code calls for the flag to be flown at half-mast “on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress,” and the White House honored this over the weekend. But presidents traditionally sign proclamations for the flags to remain at half-mast until the day of interment when prominent public officials die, and Trump initially refrained from do so.
The American Legion on Monday addressed this in a letter to the president, stating, “I strongly urge you to make an appropriate presidential proclamation noting Senator McCain’s death and legacy of service to our nation, and that our nation’s flag be half-staffed through his interment.”
Other veterans groups and members of Congress also called on Trump to lower the flag to half-mast throughout the day.
Amid the mounting criticism, Trump ultimately issued a proclamation on Monday afternoon calling for the flag to be lowered in honor of McCain.
“Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment,” Trump said in a statement on this decision.
McCain died of brain cancer in his home state of Arizona on Saturday. He was 81 years old.