Trump Caves, Lowers Flags To Half-Staff

(Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images)

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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President Donald Trump caved to pressure to lower federal flags to half-staff after the death of Sen. John McCain, he announced in a Monday afternoon statement.

“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 president continued “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 noted that he will send “General John Kelly, Secretary James Mattis, and Ambassador John Bolton to represent my Administration at his services.”

Trump came under immense pressure Monday to put the flag back at half-staff after it was raised midnight Sunday. The practices and protocols governing the U.S. flag code are complicated. Official U.S. code dictates that after the death of a member of Congress, the flag must be flown at half-staff on the day of death and the day after. This procedure was followed by the White House staff, who lowered their flag on Saturday after the news of McCain’s death and kept it lowered all day Sunday.

The White House, however, frequently issues protocols of half-staff extension out of respect for national figures. Trump appears not to have issued such a proclamation until Monday afternoon when some veterans organizations began to criticize his administration for not issuing a proclamation