White House Returns Flag To Half-staff For McCain Amid Pressure

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on August 28th, 2018

Washington D.C., USA : The White House has lowered the U.S. flag back to half-staff for John McCain after backlash. This was after President Donald Trump came under pressure to lower the U.S. flag to half-staff to honor the late Senator.

Flags at the White House were initially lowered to half-staff after the Arizona senator died at the age of 81 on Saturday, but returned to full-staff less than 48 hours on Monday, signifying Trump’s sour relations with the Vietnam war “hero.”

That has prompted veteran groups to pressure the administration to show respect to McCain.

“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. “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.”

The American Legion, the country’s largest wartime veterans service organization, also condemned the move.

“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,” Denise Rohan, the national commander of the American Legion, said in a statement.

Later on Monday, the White House once again lowered the flag to half-staff and Trump released a statement, saying that he “signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.”

Apart from being one of the most influential players in US Congress, McCain is marketed as a war “hero” at least by US mainstream media and the GOP.

In reality, the former US presidential candidate, Vietnam war veteran and prisoner of war, is blamed for millions of lives lost amid Washington’s wars around the globe as well as attempts to disrupt peacemaking processes for the sake of gaining profit.

The death of McCain, who had been diagnosed with a glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain tumor, was not much of a surprise yet it exposed division at the core of the GOP, not a well-kept secret of the party in power.

One of the harshest republican critics of President Trump, McCain has apparently banned the commander-in-chief from taking part at his funeral.

Trump, who has already questioned McCain’s “hero” status, also refused to release a fulsome statement as normally expected in the political arena.

The senior Republican, who has backed pretty much all US interventions, including the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan, is dead but his shadow still lingers on the Trump administration, whose top officials are behaving differently and praise the deceased.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley are among those heaping accolades on the war “hero” despite Trump’s attitude.

“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 said. “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.”

EARLIER : John McCain To Be Buried At U.S. Naval Academy

Washington D.C., USA : Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), who died on Saturday, will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday, September 2, following a week of memorial services commemorating his life.

McCain, 81, died on August 25 after a yearlong battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The Senate giant will be laid to rest next to his Naval Academy classmate and friend Admiral Chuck Larson, according to a schedule of events from his office. McCain graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958.

“As classmates at the U.S. Naval Academy and Naval Air Station Pensacola flight school, Senator McCain and Admiral Chuck Larson developed a close friendship that endured throughout their adult lives,” the statement from McCain’s office says.

His burial will be held after a national memorial service at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., that Saturday.

Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush have reportedly been asked to give eulogies at John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) funeral. Vice President Pence has also been asked to attend, though President Trump has not been invited the reports said.

Here is a timeline of planned events for John Mccain:

Wednesday, Aug. 29: McCain’s body will lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol. There will be a small ceremony that family and local officials will attend at 10 a.m. local time. Following the ceremony, the public will be welcome to pay respects to Sen. McCain in the Arizona State Capitol Rotunda from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 30: Memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church celebrating McCain’s life and legacy. Eulogists expected to include former Vice President Joe Biden. After this ceremony, there will be a motorcade to the Phoenix airport, and McCain’s body will be flown to Joint Base Andrews in Washington, D.C., and taken to a funeral home.

Friday, Aug. 31: McCain’s body will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, where the senator’s family, colleagues, staff and the public will honor his life and service. A ceremony will take place at approximately 10 a.m.

Saturday, Sept. 1: There will be a motorcade from the Capitol to the National Cathedral, with a stop along the way for the late senator’s wife, Cindy McCain, to lay a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Former President George W. Bush will give a eulogy at the National Cathedral. Other likely speakers include McCain children Meghan McCain and Jimmy McCain.  Former President Obama has also been invited to deliver a eulogy.

Sunday, Sept. 2: A private memorial service will take place at approximately 2 p.m. in the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland. Following the service, a private burial ceremony will be held at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery where Sen. McCain will be laid to rest next to his Naval Academy classmate and friend, Adm. Chuck Larson.

Before he died of leukemia in 2014, Larson reserved four plots of land for himself, McCain, and their spouses at the Naval Academy cemetery, according to the press release.

McCain, who served in Congress for decades after being held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five years, is scheduled to lie in the Arizona State Capitol on Wedensday and the U.S. Capitol on Friday, according to the release.

More than 30 people have been honored by lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda, and only two individuals have lied in the Arizona State Capitol Museum Rotunda: Arizona State Senator Marilyn Jarrett in 2006 and Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens, a Tucson resident, in 1980, according to McCain’s office.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) will wait until the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is buried before naming his successor.

“Out of respect for the life and legacy of Senator John McCain and his family, Governor Ducey will not be making any announcements about an appointment until after the Senator is laid to rest,” Ducey’s senior adviser Daniel Ruiz II said in a statement provided to The Hill. “Now is a time for remembering and honoring a consequential life well lived.”

McCain died Saturday at 81 after a fight with brain cancer. His death came after his family announced Friday that they would be discontinuing treatment for the longtime senator.

Ducey is tasked with appointing McCain’s successor under Arizona state law. The successor will fill McCain’s seat until 2020, when a special election will be held to finish the term through 2022. There will then be an election for a full six-year term in 2022.

The Arizona Republic listed potential appointees on Friday including Cindy McCain, McCain’s wife, and Kirk Adams, the chief of staff for Ducey.

“He was a giant. An icon. An American hero. But here at home, we are most proud to call him a fellow Arizonan,” Ducey wrote in a statement after McCain’s death. “Like so many of us, he was not born here, but his spirit, service and fierce independence shaped the state with which he became synonymous.”.

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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