Trump Returns Flag to Half-Staff and Announces VP Mike Pence Will Speak at John McCain's Ceremony
Donald Trump released a full statement on Monday announcing that the White House flag will return to half-staff and that Vice President Mike Pence will represent his administration at funeral services
After initially addressing Sen. John McCain‘s death with a two-sentence tweet, President Donald Trump released a full statement on Monday announcing that the White House flag will return to half-staff and that Vice President Mike Pence will represent his administration at funeral services.
“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. The proclamation follows suit with similar actions taken by former President Barack Obama — when Sen. Ted Kennedy died in 2009 and Sen. Daniel Inouye died in 2012, Obama asked in both cases that flags remain at half-staff until the evening of their interment.
RELATED VIDEO: Funeral Arrangements Underway for Senator John McCain
Trump also announced that Vice President Mike Pence will “offer an address at the ceremony honoring Senator McCain at the United States Capitol” Friday. In addition, General John Kelly, Secretary James Mattis and Ambassador John Bolton will represent the Trump Administration at funeral services, confirming reports that the president himself will not attend.
Despite their rocky history, the war hero and longtime politician did not prohibit Trump from attending his funeral, according to a McCain family source.
“John had a feud with the president, and it got pretty intense, but I never heard anyone in the family say John banned Trump, and he never said that to me,” the source tells PEOPLE. “John didn’t ban Trump. John could be spiteful, and he loved a good fight, but he wouldn’t do something like that.”
A second family source adds: “I didn’t hear John say it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if John didn’t want Trump there.”
There will be four separate memorials and services honoring McCain’s life — two in Arizona and two in the nation’s capital — and he will be buried in the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sept. 1.
The president also announced that he has authorized military transport of Sen. McCain’s body from Arizona to Washington, D.C. as well as military pallbearers, band support and a horse and caisson transport during the service at the United States Naval Academy, “at the request of the McCain family.”
Before his death, Sen. McCain asked that former presidents Obama and George W. Bush speak at his funeral, and Obama and Bush have already been requested to offer eulogies.