- The White House issued a proclamation and lowered its flag back to half-staff on Monday afternoon after facing criticism that it was not properly honoring Sen. John McCain.
- The White House flag was at full staff on Monday morning after President Donald Trump did not order a proclamation following the death of the renowned war hero and public servant.
- Presidential proclamations on the deaths of prominent US officials and figures typically call for flags to stay at half-staff until the burial, which for McCain will be Sunday.
- McCain died at the age of 81 on Saturday.
Amid criticism that he was not properly honoring Sen. John McCain of Arizona, President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon issued a proclamation, and the White House lowered its flag back to half-staff from its full height on Monday morning.
It’s typical for presidential proclamations on the deaths of prominent US officials and figures to call for flags to stay at half-staff until the burial, which for McCain will be on Sunday.
Before Monday, the latest presidential proclamation Trump made that lowered US flags to half-staff was for the victims of the shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, in June. Trump signed that order after rejecting the Annapolis mayor’s initial request to have the flags lowered, The Baltimore Sun reported at the time.
Trump has been criticized for feuding with McCain. During the 2016 presidential campaign Trump underplayed McCain’s renowned military service, and as president he threw subtle jabs at McCain after the six-term senator voiced opposition on matters of foreign policy, healthcare, and immigration.
After McCain’s death, Trump tweeted: “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
As politicians, members of the military, and journalists mourned the death of McCain, Trump spent his Sunday golfing and tweeting and retweeting his past tweets about the stock market, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and “the Fake News Media.”
Criticism of the White House’s decision to raise the flag came notably from the American Legion, which urged Trump 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.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also led bipartisan calls from Congress on Monday for the flag to be lowered.
The White House finally issued a more robust statement on Monday afternoon.
“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.
McCain and his family have requested that Trump not attend the funeral services and have asked former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama – McCain’s presidential election opponents – to eulogize McCain.
Trump said in the statement Monday that he had asked Vice President Mike Pence to speak at the ceremony at the US Capitol on Friday and that he requested his chief of staff, John Kelly, his defense secretary, James Mattis, and his national security adviser, John Bolton, to attend the services on behalf of the administration.
The White House did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the raised flag on Monday morning, first spotted by the CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller.
Flag back at full staff atop WH. Pres Trump did not issue proclamation on the death of @SenJohnMcCain, which usually calls for flags to remain at half-staff through the day of interment, which is Sunday at the @NavalAcademy. pic.twitter.com/NGasNPT0VB
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) August 27, 2018
— ABC News (@ABC) August 27, 2018
Remembering the life and legacy of John McCain:
- Former presidents, congressional leaders, and the military commend John McCain’s storied life and service
- Sen. Lindsey Graham gives an emotional statement after John McCain’s death
- Trump offers his condolences to McCain’s family after his death
- 10 of John McCain’s best quotes on courage, happiness, and character
- 10 photos show John McCain’s heroism in Vietnam and his lasting impact on the US military
- The incredible life of John McCain, in photos
- A look at the life and fortune of John McCain, who has a sprawling real estate portfolio and donated $1.7 million in book sales to charity
- In his new book, McCain revealed how he found out he had brain cancer
- As a POW in Vietnam, John McCain refused release until his fellow prisoners were freed, making him a hero in the eyes of many