McCain takes parting shot at Trump in final message

McCain takes parting shot at Trump in final message

Mr Trump had written on Saturday night: "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain".

The White House lowered its US flag to half-staff, raised it back up and on Monday lowered it again after the death of Senator John McCain, in an unusual and confusing break with protocol on the passing of a national leader.

Mr Trump declined to answer numerous shouted questions about Mr McCain from reporters in the White House's Oval Office on Monday morning after an announcement on trade.

The longtime senator clashed repeatedly with Trump despite being from the same party, and the president - who in 2016 famously dismissed McCain as "not a war hero" - has paid scant tribute to the senator in the wake of his death. He said McCain was considered a war hero "because he was captured" and said he liked "people that weren't captured". This message also seemingly condemns the rise of nationalism of Trump's fan base ("tribal rivalries") and the president's blowhard approach to foreign relations, which has "sown resentment" toward the United States in the global community.

However, after widespread criticism came over U.S. media, the flags were again lowered on Monday afternoon as Trump made his first reference to McCain: "Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain's service to our country".

The desk of John McCain is draped in black on the floor of the US Senate on Monday. McCain's remarkable legacy and principled leadership, especially on issues related to national security and foreign policy.

Trump bows to pressure, lowers flags again to honour John McCain
In the statement, Senator McCain reflected on the privilege of serving his country and said he tried to do so honourably. But Trump told aides he wanted to post a brief tweet instead, and the statement praising McCain's life was not released.

Noting McCain's death, several candidates - including Sinema and Republican Rep. Martha McSally, who is expected to win the GOP primary - said they would suspend their campaigns on Wednesday and Thursday.

"We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world", Obama wrote.

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".

The former military personnel also requested to be buried at Annapolis, Maryland's U.S. Naval Academy, a desire he revealed in a September 2017 60 Minutes segment.

With bad blood between them at the boil, McCain reportedly excluded Trump from his funeral ceremonies - a development that Davis confirmed on Monday. John McCain - whose family had hours before said he would be ending cancer treatment - had a "particular narrative that is negative to me".

Presidents normally follow Congress' lead on the death of a prominent lawmaker and order flags lowered until sunset on the day of burial.

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