The White House's Flags Were Raised After One Full Day Of Lowering Them For McCain
Flags in Washington D.C. remain at half-staff in honor of the late Sen. John McCain — or at least some of them do. In what is being seen as another potential slight to McCain, the White House flags were raised back to full-staff on Monday morning, Aug. 27. That puts the White House at odds with not only recent precedent but also the U.S. Capitol, where flags continue to fly at half-staff. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
UPDATE: Just before 4 p.m. ET on Monday, the White House flag was lowered to half-staff. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
EARLIER: For comparison, after the late Sen. Edward Kennedy died in 2009, the flags at the White House — and at U.S. government buildings around the world — were ordered lowered for five days by President Barack Obama in a proclamation. That kept them at half-staff through the late senator's burial.
Trump's White House has not even released a statement praising McCain, although one was reportedly drafted. Trump opted instead for a tweet that mentioned "sympathies and respect" for the McCain family but did not praise the senator himself.
D.C. journalists and others on Twitter noted that Trump has issued similar proclamations for other public figures who have died during his presidency, even if they weren't public servants or elected officials. For an idea of what the White House can order, look no further than February, when Trump ordered flags lowered in honor of the late Billy Graham, an evangelical leader who was popular with Trump's base.
The proclamation for Graham covered just the day of his burial, but it included arguably every flag in the country and around the world:
The flag of the United States shall be flown at half‑staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on such day. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
For sitting U.S. senators, the same language would generally apply, but it would be applicable from the time of death until burial, USA Today reported, as was the case with Kennedy. McCain will lie at state in both the U.S. Capitol and Arizona State Capitol and have memorials in both Phoenix and D.C. His final private internment will be Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.
Part of the reason for the snub could be that Trump was at his golf course in Virginia on Sunday, although Obama did make the Kennedy proclamation from his vacation on Martha's Vineyard.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, and others at the White House pushed for a longer statement that called McCain a "hero." Sanders declined comment on the lack of a statement during Sunday's briefing.
To be fair to Trump, the apparent snubs have gone both ways. McCain made plans before his death to invite the two former presidents that kept him from the White House, George W. Bush and Obama, to speak at his funeral instead of the current commander in chief.
Whether that slight or the flags came first is hard to tell.