At the end of an announcement of a potential trade deal with Mexico that could end up changing parts of NAFTA — something the president WAY oversold — President Donald Trump as asked by reporters if he had any thoughts on the passing of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
And he said nothing, instead sitting at his desk glaring forward with his arms crossed.
Trump’s deafening silence on the passing of the former Republican standard-bearer and war hero comes on the heels of reports that the president nixed an official White House statement that would have praised McCain’s life and heroism, preferring just to send out a brief tweet that didn’t include any kind words for the late senator.
This was followed by the White House’s decision to raise its American flag to full-staff on Monday morning, less than 48 hours after McCain’s death, causing widespread and bipartisan outrage.
This wasn’t the only time on Monday that the president refused to answer any questions about the passing of the iconic lawmaker. While sitting with the Kenyan president for a photo-op hours later, Trump again remained silent while reporters pressed him.
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, scowling, repeatedly refuses to say anything about John McCain pic.twitter.com/oovp9Knyxn
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 27, 2018
ABC News’ Cecilia Vega noted that Trump had been asked at least 11 times by mid-afternoon about McCain:
— Cecilia Vega (@CeciliaVega) August 27, 2018
UPDATE 4:16 PM ET: The president eventually released another statement in which he said he respected McCain’s service despite their “differences on policy and politics” and the White House re-lowered its flag to half-staff.
Trump issues a statement on McCain ordering flags at half staff until the late senator's interment pic.twitter.com/dhGleCZCTg
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) August 27, 2018
There’s been a lot of focus on this today, but the White House flag is now at half staff, after being fully raised earlier in the day. pic.twitter.com/MPZvGjnN7T
— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) August 27, 2018
Watch the clip above, via CNN.