Trump Reverses, Orders Flags At Half-Staff For McCain After Angry Backlash

President Trump on Monday issued a formal statement following the death of Senator John McCain after drawing bipartisan rebuke from veterans groups, legislators and pundits alike. 

Trump Reverses, Orders Flags At Half-Staff For McCain After Angry Backlash

In a Monday proclamation, Trump said: “Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Sen. 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 also “authorized military transportaion of Senator McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington D.C., military pallbearers and band support, and a horse and caisson transport during the service at the United States Naval Academy.” 

Vice President Mike Pence was asked to offer an address at a Friday ceremony at the Capitol, and called for the attendance of Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Ambassador John Bolton “to represent my administration at his services.” 

McCain and Trump had a markedly acrimonious relationship, which included McCain withdrawing support for Trump during the 2016 US election, the hand-delivery of the infamous “Steele Dossier” to former FBI Director James Comey, and casting the deciding vote which killed the repeal of Obamacare. 

Trump’s reversal also follows a report by the Washington Post that Trump initially rejected recommendations to issue an official statement from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chief of Staff John Kelly and other White House aides – instead opting on Saturday to fire off a terse tweet offering “deepest sympathies.” 

Moreover, after spending the weekend following McCain’s death at half-staff, the White House flag was hoisted to full staff on Monday morning – only to be lowered again to half-staff upon Trump’s proclamation. 

In response to Trump’s treatment of McCain, veterans group AMVETS issued a statement over Twitter calling for him to reverse course: 

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