President Donald Trump on Monday would not respond to shouted questions from reporters about the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the Oval Office, although journalists repeatedly tried to elicit an answer from the commander-in-chief, Deadline Hollywood and other outlets reported.
Sen. McCain died on Saturday, succumbing at age 81 to an aggressive form of glioblastoma, a brain cancer.
Tributes have been pouring in for the “maverick” senator, and observances are planned in his home state of Arizona.
His remains will also lie in state at the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C.
McCain’s aide, Rick Davis, delivered his last remarks on Monday. Dictated by McCain apparently in the last days of his life, the remarks contained a harsh rebuke of President Trump’s policies.
After Trump ended a phone call with outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto about a new trade deal between the two countries, members of the media shouted questions at the president about McCain.
“Any thoughts on John McCain?” several reporters can be heard saying in a video of the Oval Office gathering.
Trump did not give any response to those shouted questions, and he appeared not to hear them.
ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl later indicated that he himself shouted the question in the Oval Office, and said he did so again during the meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Standing about six feet from the president in the Oval Office, I once again asked the president about John McCain,” Karl tweeted. “‘Any thoughts on McCain? Anything at all about John McCain? Was McCain a hero?’ Nothing at all about McCain? He stared ahead and said nothing.”
Standing about six feet from the President in the Oval Office, I once again asked the President about John McCain. Any thoughts on McCain? Anything at all about John McCain? Was McCain a hero? Nothing at all about McCain? He stared ahead and said nothing. pic.twitter.com/2TsPYohp9K
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) August 27, 2018
Trump and McCain had a contentious relationship, and Trump was actually disinvited from McCain’s funeral — reportedly by McCain himself.
Trump also reportedly rejected a draft White House statement calling McCain a “hero” in favor of tweeting out condolences to the McCain family.
Late Monday afternoon, the White House issued a proclamation on the death of the senator — which brought the American flag back down to half-staff at the White House.
The proclamation, among other things, said the following: “As a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding service of Sen. John Sidney McCain III, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the federal government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its territories and possessions until sunset on the day of interment.”
That day of internment will be Sunday, at the Naval Academy.
Trump also said in the Monday proclamation, “I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half‑staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.”
Trump had followed the U.S. flag code, as USA Today pointed out: The flags need to be lowered for a member of Congress only on the day of their death and the day after.
Watch the video of the press pool question President Trump below.