(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Two days after John McCain’s death, President Trump’s White House is finally catching up to the rest of the world and even its own government.
Trump was personally refusing to allow the White House to fly its flag at half mast in honor of the late senator, with whom he publicly feuded.
In fact, the White House had returned its flag to full mast Monday morning while the Washington Monument continued to leave its flags lowered in honor of McCain.
It was the latest in a series of insults from Trump, who reportedly blocked a White House statement honoring McCain last weekend in favor of a more generic statement expressing thoughts for his family. Trump even went so far as to post his statement on Instagram alongside a photo of himself --- not of McCain.
Things go so bad that some veterans groups began publicly shaming Trump to put his political differences aside and honor the late war hero, lawmaker and fellow Republican.
“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, executive director of veterans advocacy group AMVETS, wrote in a statement.
That sentiment was echoed by the American Legion, whose national commander Denise Rohan said in a statement:
"On 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 throughout his internment.”
The White House finally caved into those demand on Monday afternoon, releasing a statement under Trump’s name and announcing the flags would once again be lowered:
"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," read an official White House statement.
It’s disgraceful that we’re at a point where veterans groups -- one of, if not the most non-partisan collections of Americans -- are forced to shame their commander-in-chief into doing the most basic of services to someone who spent 60 years of their life serving the United States as a soldier, prisoner or war, member of Congress, Senator and elder statesman.
But it’s also illustrative of how those with integrity and commitment can pressure the White House into doing the “respectful” thing when we don’t give them the chance to do otherwise.