White House lowers flag for McCain again after backlash

28 August, 2018, 15:58 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Tom Williams via Getty Images

The senator, who had largely withdrawn from public life after being diagnosed with an aggressive strain of brain cancer in the summer of 2017, had also let it be known that he did not want President Trump to attend his funeral service.

"Mr. President, any thoughts on John McCain?".

By day's end, Trump had done just that, with no immediate explanation from the White House.

Mr McCain was well-respected across the political spectrum in the U.S. for both his military and political service. On Saturday, a procession will pass the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and arrive for a funeral at Washington National Cathedral.

The proclamation affects the flag atop the White House and all public buildings, as well as military installations and embassies.

While McCain's term runs until 2023, state law requires anyone taking the seat now to run for election themselves immediately after the 2020 presidential race.

U.S. President Donald Trump is not expected to attend any of the services.

On Monday, there was visual evidence of Trump's contempt.

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McCain and Arizona's junior USA senator, Republican Jeff Flake, who is retiring at the end of this year, were both outspoken critics of President Donald Trump, a dynamic that put Arizona at the forefront of deep divisions within the Republican Party.

McCain was a frequent critic of President Donald Trump on everything from his leadership style to his Russian Federation policy. He was a war hero because he was captured. "I like people that weren't captured".

NPR details the groups who implored the president to make the move, including the American Legion and the veterans group AMVETS; Politico has comments from Republican senators on the issue. The Washington Post reported that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Chief of Staff Kelly and other senior staff had urged a statement be released referring to McCain as a "hero" - but Trump opted to tweet instead. After news broke of McCain's death, Trump wrote in tweet: "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you". Trump ignored reporters' repeated questions about McCain at White House gatherings on Monday, but late Monday afternoon the flags were lowered again to half-staff. That means the flags were lowered to half of the usual height.

McCain's death narrows the number of Republican-held seats in the 100-member U.S. Senate to 50, with Democrats controlling 49. However, presidents often sign proclamations to extend that period of time.

The request contrasts with the White House, which raised its flags back to full staff on Monday after lowering them on Sunday.

TRT World's Mary McCarthy reports about the criticism faced by Trump.

In Phoenix, Mr. Davis read a posthumous statement that made a final jab at Mr. Trump.

Trump said Monday afternoon that he respects the senator's "service to our country" and signed a proclamation to fly the USA flag at half-staff until his burial.

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