Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) had complimentary things to say about John McCain, but viewed the White House’s indecision surrounding how long to fly the flag at half-staff unsurprising given the late senator’s rocky relationship with President Donald Trump.
“Well, you know, frankly, I think that John McCain is partially to blame for that because he is very outspoken,” Inhofe told reporters Monday. “He disagreed with the president in certain areas and wasn’t too courteous about it.” Both men, he said, were “strong-willed people.”
Inhofe did also offer reverential statements about McCain, calling him a “fighter” and a “hero.”
The White House moved its American flag to half-staff on Saturday evening to honor McCain but had returned it to full-staff by Monday morning. Protocol calls for the flag to be lowered for a day and a half following the death of a sitting member of Congress, yet it’s common for presidents to issue a proclamation when a high-profile figure dies which directs all public buildings and military bases to partially lower the flag until the day of interment.
It took Trump two days following McCain’s death on Saturday to issue that proclamation, announcing Monday that the White House flag would yet again be lowered until the interment this coming Sunday. He also reportedly refused to release a statement that including the word “hero,” according to The Washington Post.
Flags at the U.S. Capitol, meanwhile, have been at half-staff since Saturday and will remain that way all week, a spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told HuffPost.
Trump and McCain frequently butted heads on matters of policy, although Trump’s attacks on McCain were viciously personal. He famously tried to argue that McCain shouldn’t be considered a war hero since he didn’t manage to avoid being captured during the Vietnam War.
“I like people who weren’t captured,” he said.