In U-turn, Trump lowers White House flag for McCain

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 28 2018 04:53 AM

The White House flag is seen after being returned to half-staff in honor of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) after first being lowered on Sunday in his honor, then raised again just after midnight on Monday and then being returned to half-staff Monday afternoon at the White House in Washington on August 27, 2018. Leah Millis, Reuters

Under fire for what critics said was a lack of respect for the late U.S. senator John McCain, President Donald Trump issued Monday a formal proclamation about the lawmaker's death and ordered the White House flag back to half-staff.

"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.

The proclamation affects the flag atop the White House and all public buildings, as well as military installations and embassies.

Trump said Vice President Mike Pence would speak at a ceremony on Friday at the U.S. Capitol in remembrance of McCain.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor John Bolton will represent Trump at a memorial service for McCain, the president added.

Trump has faced criticism, including from veterans groups, about his response to the death on Saturday of McCain, who passed away after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.

In a letter to the president, the national commander of the American Legion, Denise Rohan, urged the White House to "follow long-established protocol following the death of prominent government officials" and honor McCain.