On Monday, President Donald Trump repeatedly ignored questions from reporters about John McCain, although Trump eventually praised the late senator by stating “our hearts and prayers are going to the family of Sen. John McCain … and we very much appreciate everything Sen. McCain has done for our country.”

“Why won’t you say anything about John McCain, sir?” the president was repeatedly asked. Trump chose instead to discuss other issues like the NAFTA agreement with Mexico and Canada, and other foreign policy matters.

Upon receiving widespread criticism for not lowering the White House’s American flag to half-staff, Trump and the administration ultimately decided to do so in order to honor McCain and the victims of a mass shooting that occurred at a video game convention in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday. The president offered prayers for the victims of the massacre during a dinner with evangelical figures.


“Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment,” Trump said in a statement.

“I have asked Vice President Mike Pence to offer an address at the ceremony honoring Senator McCain at the United States Capitol this Friday.”

McCain is expected to be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland. The Arizona Republican and former Vietnam prisoner of war died at age 81 on Saturday following a year-long battle with brain cancer. Trump and McCain were known for having a tense relationship, with one often criticizing the other. Former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are both set to deliver eulogies at McCain’s funeral, to which Trump is not invited.

Trump only shared the following tweet about McCain following his death on Saturday:

White House officials had returned the flag to full-staff around midnight. The flags around the Washington Monument were around that point spotted flying at half-staff, however.

Although the president refused to call McCain a “hero,” his daughter Ivanka Trump reportedly used the word to pay her respect to the late senator at a women’s empowerment event in Washington on Monday.

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