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Donald Trump pays tribute to John McCain and lowers White House flag

29 August 2018

Bowing to pressure, President Donald Trump today ordered American flags at United States buildings lowered to half-staff for Senator John McCain until his burial on Sunday.

The tributes followed the perceived snub when the White House flag returned to full staff on Monday, following McCain's Saturday death, only to returned to half-staff later in the afternoon.

The message was released on Monday as a statement by McCain's longtime adviser Rick Davis, two days after the veteran Republican senator succumbed to a yearlong battle with brain cancer at the age of 81.

But the move to lower the flag for a second time has been seen as bowing to pressure following the criticism.

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The American flag flies at full-staff over the White House on Monday.

Rather than an official proclamation, Trump issued a tweet following McCain's death, saying: "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain".

Later, at an evening dinner honoring evangelical leaders, he said "our hearts and prayers" are going to the family "and we very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for our country".

Amid all the bickering, Sellers sought to bring the focus back to the late Arizona senator: "I will just say this, John McCain deserves a better dialogue than what we're having right now".

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Following Mr McCain's death, admirers have recalled with fondness his insistence on fair and civil discourse - in contrast with the frequent incivility of Mr Trump and his habit of coining unflattering descriptions of political foes.

Speaking from the Senate floor, McConnell says that while McCain served the state of Arizona in Congress, "he was America's hero all along". In other instances the White House has issued a proclamation extending the period to keep the flags at half-staff.

With bad blood between them at the boil, McCain reportedly excluded Trump from his funeral ceremonies - a development that Davis confirmed on Monday. Trump, when he returned to Washington, altered his stance, but nearly daily assails the investigation into the election interference. Some senators are pushing a plan to rename the building in honor of McCain.

As Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, a Trump friend, put it, "I think there's a lot of hard feelings on both sides".

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When veterans' groups launched appeals for a more fitting salute to Mr. McCain, a Navy veteran who was imprisoned for more than five years in Vietnam, the Republican leader - who had no love lost for the Arizona senator - blinked. "He devoted his entire life to his country". Our words are too often cheap and imminently forgettable but John McCain paid our freight with his body and with his soul. He was held for 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam after the attack aircraft he was piloting was shot down during a bombing raid over Hanoi. Flowers, incense, flags and other tributes to McCain have been laid there. "The damage you have done to the Bureau betrays these families and sacrifices the financial futures of millions of Americans in communities across the country", Frotman said.

Donald Trump pays tribute to John McCain and lowers White House flag