Facing a national outpouring of scorn, the White House relented Monday afternoon and once again lowered flags on the grounds to half staff in honor of the late Sen. John McCain.
The flags had been raised to full staff earlier Monday, after being lowered for only a few days to mark the death of McCain.
But politicians from both sides of the aisle as well as national leaders of veterans’ groups, slammed President Trump in protest, calling the commander-in-chief vindictive and petty.
The White House typically honors deceased lawmakers by keeping the building’s flags at half-staff until their funerals, according to The Hill.
But that requires a presidential proclamation, and Trump didn’t issue one.
The move comes shortly after the American Legion and other veterans organizations had blasted Trump.
“Mr. President, just this year, you released presidential proclamations noting the deaths of Barbara Bush and Billy Graham,” Denise Rohan, the national commander of the American Legion, said in a public letter to the president Monday.
“Sen. McCain was an American hero and cherished member of The American Legion. As I’m certain you are aware, he served five and a half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and retired from the US Navy at the rank of Captain. He then served in the U.S. Congress for more than three decades.”
“On behalf of The American Legion’s two million wartime veterans, I strongly urge you to make an appropriate presidential proclamation noting Senator McCain’s death and legacy of service to our nation, and that our nation’s flag be half-staffed through his internment,” she wrote.
McCain, who died Saturday at age 81, will be buried Sunday at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, after his body lies in state in the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, and the Capitol Rotunda in DC.
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