President Trump’s reputation as a petty and vindictive man was amplified a thousandfold yesterday when he ordered the flags at the White House raised back to full-mast only two days after the death of Arizona Senator John McCain rather than waiting until burial as is customary in situations like this.
After news of Trump’s bile-laden move raced across social media, the White House reversed itself later in the afternoon, restored the flag to half-mast, and finally issued a begrudging official statement offering faint praise to the late Senator after his death from brain cancer.
Today, The Wall Street Journal offered some insight into the behind the scenes machinations at the White House that resulted in the public relations disaster and the steps it took to finally convince the president to make a rare reversal of his initial decision.
The Journal says that White House insiders told them that they spent two days urging Trump to issue a positive statement about McCain, but the president resisted because he thought that the media coverage of the Senator’s demise was excessive and more appropriate for the death of a president.
He was also upset that the coverage of McCain’s death stole valuable cable news airtime away from what he felt should be wall to wall coverage of his newly-completed trade deal with Mexico.
Senior White House officials say that it was only the intervention of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, with some help from Chief of Staff John Kelly, that convinced Trump to change his mind.
“It was 99% Sarah,” the newspaper quoted its source as saying.
Trump’s initial decision to cut short the time flags were lowered at the White House was condemned by veterans groups across the country, including the American Legion, the Veterans Of Foreign Wars, and Amvets, as well as by politicians from both parties.
With a president so rightfully insecure about his standing and his public image that he can’t stand it when the media is covering something other than his own actions, it’s not the least bit surprising to discover the motivation behind his callous treatment of a departed American icon — nominally from his own political party — lies completely in Trump’s own selfishness.
Trump’s actions simply further emphasize that he is devoid of the kind of character and patriotism that McCain, despite his misguided views on multiple issues that separate Republicans from the progressive left, had in spades.
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