>> US President Donald Trump spoke out for the first time about John McCain on Monday, verbally acknowledging the veteran US senator's death, days later.>> Our hearts and prayers are going to the family of Senator John McCain. Gonna be a lot of activity over the next number of days, and we very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for our country.
>> That was after a day Trump spent ignoring questions over why he appeared unwilling to bid McCain a graceful goodbye. First at an event announcing a potential trade deal with Mexico.>> Mr. President, any thoughts on John McCain, sir?>> Then when he welcomed the visiting president of Kenya.
>> Mr. President, do you have any thoughts on John McCain?>> Thank you.>> And later after a cabinet meeting, Trump just ignored the questions. McCain served six terms in the Senate and endured torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he died on Saturday night. But he was also a harsh and regular critic of Trump, who had only written a Tweet on Saturday night offering condolences to the McCain family without a word of praise.
And while the White House dipped its flag to half-staff Sunday night, the stars and stripes flew again at full staff Monday morning before they dipped again. It was a confusing break from protocol. Typically, the president's residence keeps flags lowered until the honorary is buried. Finally, Trump seemed to relent to pressure from veterans and members of Congress, saying in a statement later, he respected McCain's service to the nation and had ordered flags flown at half-staff.
McCain had parting words, too. His family spokesman read out a letter for the American people written shortly before the senator died. In it, McCain seemed to take one last stand against the president, without naming him directly.>> We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe.
We weaken it when we hide behind walls rather than tear them down.>> McCain will lie in state in both Phoenix and the Capitol Rotunda, with services at Washington's National Cathedral and a burial at the US Naval Academy in Maryland, McCain's alma mater.