McCain takes parting shot at Trump in final message


U.S. Senator John McCain's death will likely shift leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee from one of President Donald Trump's most vocal Republican critics to one of his biggest supporters, which observers say could mean fewer checks on the Pentagon.

The White House lowered its USA flag to half-staff, raised it back up and on Monday lowered it again after the death of Senator John McCain, in an unusual and confusing break with protocol on the passing of a national leader.

The flag atop the White House flew at half-staff over the weekend in recognition of McCain's death but was raised Monday and then lowered again amid criticism.

Trump and McCain have feuded for years.

Mr Trump's statement broke his silence about the senator's death, with his remembrance restricted to a tweet sending condolences to Mr McCain's family.

Trump said Vice-President Pence would address a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Friday. McCain also passed on a copy of the infamous golden showers dossier to former FBI Director James Comey after the 2016 campaign, and has been among the foremost critics of Russian Federation and President Vladimir Putin. Trump, meanwhile, said in 2015 that McCain wasn't a war hero because he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Still not a kind word about McCain himself. Since the time to qualify for November's election is past, the election would take place in 2020, with the victor filling out the remainder of McCain term until 2022. At services there, McCain will be honored by several members of the Arizona congressional delegation.

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When Trump signed into a military spending bill named after McCain earlier this month, he declined to mention the senator in his remarks.

Former vice president Joe Biden, McCain's longtime Senate colleague, is expected to speak at a service for the Arizona Republican in Phoenix on Thursday.

On Monday, Mr Schumer and Mr McConnell asked for the flags to remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of McCain's burial on Sunday.

After Democratic Ted Kennedy of MA died in 2009, President Barack Obama ordered flags at the White House flown at half-staff for five days.

There, "military pallbearers and band support, and a horse and caisson transport" will partake in a funeral service at the U.S. Naval Academy, his statement added. Trump, as a presidential candidate, drew the ire of many in his own party for questioning McCain's heroism. The national commander of the American Legion sent Trump a letter "strongly" urging that "our nation's flag be half-staffed through (McCain's) interment". "But believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here".

Asked whether she could better express herself, the former state senator said her style is to "talk directly to the people".