Two days after Sen. John McCain’s death, President Donald Trump says he respects the senator’s “service to our country” and has signed a proclamation to fly the U.S. flag at half-mast until his burial.
The flag atop the White House flew at half-mast over the weekend but was raised Monday and then lowered again amid criticism.
Trump and McCain have feuded for years. Trump tweeted about McCain after his death Saturday but has passed up several chances to comment publicly on the Arizona senator.
In a statement written Monday, Trump said he respected McCain despite their differences.
He also said he wouldn’t attend McCain’s funeral but would send General John Kelly, Secretary James Mattis, and Ambassador John Bolton to McCain’s funeral.
That comes amid reports that his family has requested Trump not attend.
The president also says he’s agreed to the McCain family’s request for military transportation of McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington.
He also wrote that he asked Vice-President Mike Pence to speak at a ceremony honouring McCain at the Capitol on Friday.
Aides to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Charles Schumer had previously requested that the Department of Defence keep flags at government buildings lowered until the sunset after McCain is buried in Annapolis, Maryland, next Sunday.
That’s standard procedure when a member of the Senate passes away. McCain served in the chamber for six terms, most recently as chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
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McCain was a frequent critic of President Donald Trump on everything from his leadership style to his Russia policy. Trump questioned the decorated Navy pilot’s Vietnam heroism and chafed at McCain’s vote to kill the president’s “Obamacare” repeal.
McCain died on Saturday at 81 after a 13-month struggle with brain cancer. Trump tweeted condolences to McCain’s family but made no reference to the Arizona senator.
U.S. Flag Code states that flags be lowered “on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress.”
After Democratic Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts died in 2009, President Barack Obama ordered flags at the White House flown at half-mast for five days.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to questions Monday.