President Donald Trump reportedly opted to post a 21-word tweet Saturday instead of issuing a formal statement from the White House about the death of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who died after a year-long battle with brain cancer, breaking from tradition previous presidents have followed.
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2018
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chief of Staff John Kelly and other White House aides, many of whom themselves issued condolences to the McCains via Twitter, urged Trump to issue a statement recognizing McCain as a “hero” for his service as a prisoner of war and a decorated Vietnam War veteran, but the president, who has long had a contentious relationship with the senator refused, current and former White House aides told The Washington Post on Sunday.
The proposed statement had been drafted in preparation for McCain’s imminent passing, after his family announced he would be discontinuing treatment for glioblastoma on Friday, but Trump refused to release it at the time of his death.
Trump instead was subdued in his tribute to the Republican senator, aside from his brief tweet, spending the weekend on his golf course in Virginia. He ordered the White House flags to be flown at half staff in a tribute to McCain on Saturday night, but they were raised by Monday, drawing criticism from opposition who noted the flag was lowered for more extended periods of time for other notable American deaths like that of former first lady Barbara Bush. (RELATED: Furor Erupts After White House Flag Returns To Full Mast After McCain’s Death)
Other top White House officials including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, first lady Melania Trump and former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama memorialized McCain, expressing their sympathies, calling him an “American patriot” and thanking him for his “lifetime of service to this nation.”
Karen and I send our deepest condolences to Cindy and the entire McCain family on the passing of Senator John McCain. We honor his lifetime of service to this nation in our military and in public life. His family and friends will be in our prayers. God bless John McCain.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) August 26, 2018
Susan and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to the family of @senjohnmccain – an American patriot. We wish you fair winds and following seas.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 26, 2018
Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the McCain Family. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to the nation.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 26, 2018
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