‘Outrageous’: Veteran Groups Blast Trump For Not Lowering The Flag To Half-Staff To Honor McCain

Flags at the White House were lowered to half-staff this weekend following Arizona Senator John McCain’s death, however, this morning they are back to full staff. Donald Trump did not offer an official proclamation as he has done in the past for other notable figures who died. Even though former President Dwight Eisenhower issued a proclamation that states the flag shall be “flown at half-staff on Federal buildings, grounds, and facilities upon the death of principal officials and former officials of the Government of the United States and the Governors of the States” Trump has kept the flag at full staff since this morning. On Monday, Trump refused to respond to shouted questions about McCain from reporters. McCain was held and tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years, and spoke out on behalf of the military and veterans throughout his life, and now, they’re supporting him.

The national commander of the American Legion, one of the largest and most prominent veterans’ organizations in the country, issued a statement Monday calling on Trump to abide by protocol and issue a proclamation to praise McCain for his service and bring the flag to half-staff until his burial.

“Mr. President, just this year, you released presidential proclamations noting the deaths of Barbara Bush and Billy Graham,” Denise Rohan wrote. “Senator John McCain was an American hero and cherished member of The American Legion. As I’m certain you are aware, he served five and a half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and retired from the U.S. Navy at the rank of Captain. He then served in the U.S. Congress for more than three decades.”

“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 interment,” she added.

Other Veterans are calling out Trump, too.

“It’s outrageous that the White House would mark American hero John McCain’s death with a two-sentence tweet, making no mention of his heroic and inspiring life,” Joe Chenelly, the executive director of veterans advocacy group AMVETS, said in a statement, according to The Hill.

“And by lowering flags for not one second more than the bare minimum required by law, despite a long-standing tradition of lowering flags until the funeral, the White House is openly showcasing its blatant disrespect for Senator McCain’s many decades of service and sacrifice to our country as well as the service of all his fellow veterans,” Chenelly added.

“Traditionally, the death of a sitting United States senator would be met with a presidential proclamation and flags flying at half-staff throughout the country until the funeral of the deceased,” AMVETS said in a statement. “This follows national tradition, as shown after the deaths of Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd.”

“But John McCain was not just a sitting senator,” the statement continued. “He was a war hero, twice a presidential contender, and a national treasure who devoted his entire adult life to protecting and improving the American way of life.”

While on the campaign trail, Trump said that McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured. And while he was dying of brain cancer, Trump repeatedly took shots at the Arizona statesman.

Update: Jim Acosta reports that the flag was just lowered.


Image via screen capture.