Trump orders flags at half-staff following McCain's death

Trump issues statement recognizing death of Senator John McCain following criticism of his response to the passing of the longtime senator.

Ben Ariel ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday issued a statement recognizing the death of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and ordered flags to fly at half-staff, following criticism of his response to the passing of the longtime senator.

"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," he added.

The president said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis and national security adviser John Bolton will represent his administration at McCain's funeral services.

McCain passed away on Saturday at the age of 81 following a battle with brain cancer.

The Arizona senator was an open critic of Trump. While McCain backed Trump in the presidential election in 2016, he previously said he has serious concerns about Trump, backing former Republican nominee Mitt Romney in his criticism.

In July, he criticized President Donald Trump for failing to take a tougher stance with Russian President Vladimir Putin at their summit in Helsinki, blasting the president’s performance as “disgraceful” and the summit itself as a “tragic mistake.”

The month before, McCain slammed Trump’s trade policies, telling allies after the Group of Seven summit that “Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn’t.”

Monday's statement from Trump followed a report that the President had rejected a laudatory White House statement praising McCain over the weekend and instead chose to tweet a statement of condolences to his family.