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Trump Orders Flags to Fly at Half Staff Again After Criticism Over Response to McCain’s Death

The American flag files at half-staff
Alex Brandon/AP/REX/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — The White House flag once again was lowered to half staff on Monday after President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to honor John McCain, after much criticism of the way that Trump responded to the Arizona senator’s death.

“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,” Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.

After McCain died on Saturday, the flags at the White House were lowered to half staff.

But they were raised on Monday morning, leading to criticism that Trump was unable to put aside political differences to honor McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam who went on to serve 35 years in Congress.

Through much of Monday, Trump refused to answer reporters’ questions about McCain, who refused to support his presidential bid.

On Monday afternoon, the American Legion urged Trump to sign a proclamation honoring McCain.

Trump will not attend McCain’s memorial services in D.C. but said that he has “asked Vice President Mike Pence to offer an address at the ceremony honoring Senator McCain at the United States Capitol this Friday.”

He also said that “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 also said that Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser John Bolton will represent the White House at McCain’s services.

McCain will lie in state at the Arizona state capitol on Wednesday, followed by a memorial service in Phoenix on Thursday. He will then lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, followed by a national memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington. He will be buried on Sunday in Annapolis, Md.