WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Monday ordering the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff on public property, a move that came after the president faced nearly a whole day of criticism for failing to properly honor Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
“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.
While the White House initially lowered the flag on Saturday night, it was raised to half-staff at the Executive Mansion by Monday morning.
In the absence of an official proclamation, the flag remained half-staff Monday at some federal buildings, including the U.S. Capitol, but was raised at others, like the Pentagon.
It was lowered again at the White House shortly after Trump’s statement was released.
Following McCain’s death on Saturday, Trump posted a short tweet extending condolences to the Senator’s family, but stopped short of issuing a formal statement.
Trump appeared before reporters several times Monday, but declined to respond to all shouted questions on the iconic lawmaker.
As the day wore on, the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans organization, publicly called on Trump to issue a proclamation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked the Defense Department to urge the president to issue a proclamation.
The drama highlighted the chilly relationship between McCain and Trump.
In his statement, Trump said that he has asked Vice President Mike Pence to address a ceremony honoring McCain while the Senator lies in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda on Friday.
Chief of Staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser John Bolton were also asked to attend McCain’s memorial service at the National Cathedral on Saturday.
McCain had reportedly made it known that he did not want Trump to be present at his service.
Trump also said that he has approved a request from the McCain family to provide military transportation for the Senator’s remains.