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White House Staff Applied "Damage Control" Before Trump Issued Statement on McCain

White House Staff Applied "Damage Control" Before Trump Issued Statement on McCain

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Monday, 27 August 2018 07:20 PM Current | Bio | Archive

There were twenty-four hours between the President’s terse tweet mourning the death of John McCain Sunday and his issuance of a proclamation lowering all flags on government buildings to half-mast in honor of McCain on Monday.

During that time, in what could only be called “damage control,” senior White House staffers worked frantically to make clear there was genuine sadness and admiration on the “Trump Train” for the late Arizona senator. 

As statements of condolences came from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and others on the Trump Team, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly made repeated attempts to convince the President to put aside past differences and deliver the traditional statement of mourning to the former presidential hopeful and Vietnam prisoner-of-war.

“He was an American hero,” Sanders told reporters on Sunday, adding that the Arizonan’s death was “a great loss for our country.”              

Sanders’ father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, also weighed in strongly about the man who beat him for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

“Sen. McCain was a courageous warrior who served and suffered for the freedom we all enjoy,” Huckabee tweeted, “I lost the GOP nomination to him in 2008 but we never once had a cross word. After he beat me I campaigned vigorously for him. No regrets. My heart goes out to his family.”

Huckabee, considered a close friend and ally of the President, also appeared on Fox News to pay tribute to McCain.

“Condolences and prayers to the McCain Family,” was the official statement of White House Counselor and ’16 Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, “Gratitude and respect for John McCain, who served the nation honorably and courageously as a Navy Captain, POW in Vietnam, and U.S. Senator. May he rest in peace.”

Sanders, Huckabee, and Conway all went public with their remarks on McCain as Trump was reportedly vetoing plans from his staff for a major White House statement. Rather, he tweeted that his “deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain.”

At 4:02 on Monday, the Office of the President announced that Trump had “signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United State's at half-mast” until McCain is interred and that Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at the service for McCain at the U.S. Capitol on Friday.

“At the request of the McCain family,” Trump’s statement read, “I have also authorized military transportation of Senator McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington, D.C., military pallbearers and band support, and a horse and caisson transport during the service at the United States Naval Academy.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now. 

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There were twenty-four hours between the President's terse tweet mourning the death of John McCain Sunday and his issuance of a proclamation lowering all flags on government buildings to half-mast in honor of McCain on Monday.
white house, donald trump, statement, john mccain, death
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2018-20-27
Monday, 27 August 2018 07:20 PM
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