Trump issues proclamation, lowers White House flag back to half-staff after facing blowback for not honouring John McCain

  • 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 honouring 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 honouring 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 proclamationTrump 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.

White House flagSnapStreamThe White House flag was lowered on Monday afternoon.

Trump has been criticised 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!”

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Trump had rejected a statement from his aides praising McCain, saying he wanted to post his own statement on Twitter instead.

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 honour, 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 defence 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.

Remembering the life and legacy of John McCain:

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