Trump’s simmering jealousy and insecurities fueled the bumbling way the White House handled the death of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), complete with a public reversal regarding the American flag flying at half-staff.
“White House officials said they prodded Mr. Trump for two days to put out a kind word about Mr. McCain,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Mr. Trump resisted, and viewed the news coverage of the former senator’s death as over-the-top and more befitting a president.”
Aides also stressed that the media’s ongoing tributes to McCain came at the expense of more coverage for the trade deal with Mexico that Trump announced on Monday.
The McCain media coverage certainly has been effusive, in part because so many commentators are contrasting his life of service with Trump’s petty life of self-aggrandizement.
Trump’s also likely fuming because McCain’s high-profile funeral, set for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, represents another instance where Trump is being told to stay away.
McCain’s family has asked former president Barack Obama and George W. Bush to deliver the eulogies. Trump has reportedly been asked to not attend.
“Less than two years into his first term, Trump has often come to occupy the role of pariah — both unwelcome and unwilling to perform the basic rituals and ceremonies of the presidency, from public displays of mourning to cultural ceremonies,” the Washington Post notes.
Traditionally, when a sitting member of Congress senator dies, the White House flag remains at half-staff for several days.
But Trump’s hallmark insecurities and his need for the full media spotlight had their way. On Monday morning, it was once again flying at full-staff, after having been lowered Saturday night following news of McCain’s death.
The Trump snub was widely denounced, and the White House was forced to reverse course Monday afternoon after critics, including the American Legion, blasted the act of disrespect.
“On the 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,” Denise Rohan, the organization’s national commander, insisted in a statement to Trump.
Trump then belatedly issued a proclamation, honoring McCain’s service to his country.
That proclamation seemed to be similar to the one aides tried to get Trump to release immediately following McCain’s death on Saturday night.
A Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war who served in the Senate for three decades, McCain had distinguished himself in recent years as being among the few Republican lawmakers who was willing to call out Trump’s disgraceful behavior rather than enable it.
Trump still holds a grudge.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Eric Boehlert.