UPDATE: President Trump issued the following 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.”
“At the request of the McCain family, I have also authorized military transportation 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.”
Trump said he will send “General John Kelly, Secretary James Mattis, and Ambassador John Bolton to represent my Administration at his services.”
There’s been a lot of focus on this today, but the White House flag is now at half staff, after being fully raised earlier in the day. pic.twitter.com/MPZvGjnN7T
— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) August 27, 2018
Less than 48 hours after President Donald Trump ordered flags lowered to mark the death of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the American flag sitting atop the White House was returned to full staff.
And the unexpected development did not escape the notice of reporters, who noted that flags have traditionally remained lowered until the public figure’s funeral.
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
The flags at the White House are back at full staff this morning. Traditionally, sitting senators who die in office have flags lowered in their honor from date of death until burial. And we've received no presidential proclamation for McCain.
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) August 27, 2018
This is sure to add fuel to the fire for the subdued response from President Trump following McCain’s death over the weekend, with Trump’s critics calling him petty.
Trump and McCain did not have a very amicable relationship, to say the least. Aside from a tweet Saturday expressing his condolences, the president has been quite on the senator’s passing.
“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain,” he tweeted. “Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
At least Trump can’t be called two-faced, or hypocritical, which is now standard operating procedure in Washington, D.C.
ABC reporter Alex Mallin reported the White House flag was returned to its normal position “just after midnight.”
Fairly striking image — all of the flags surrounding the Washington Monument are at half-staff, though the flag atop the White House was raised to full staff just after midnight. pic.twitter.com/BwKRbqKk0G
— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) August 27, 2018
As with everything these days, the incident made for another opportunity to denounce Trump.
Here’s a sampling of other responses from media figures, with plenty of opinion mixed in:
As the nation remembers John McCain, the flags at the White House are not at half staff. pic.twitter.com/9D32OH6YZa
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) August 27, 2018
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) August 27, 2018
Camera shot facing south over the White House – you can see the flag at the WH at full staff while the flags surrounding the Washington Monument are lowered pic.twitter.com/xT2KdPLgpB
— Karen Travers (@karentravers) August 27, 2018
As flag over the WH hangs at full staff, @juliehdavis on how Trump’s refusal to honor John McCain shows he is “unwilling to act as a unifying force at major moments in the life of the country.” https://t.co/d85cc6gkOt
— Mark Landler (@MarkLandler) August 27, 2018
Conservative pundit Erick Erickson even came up with a conspiracy theory behind the move:
McCain is scheduled to lie in the Arizona Capitol on Wednesday and then the U.S. Capitol on Friday, according to The Hill. His burial will take place Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
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