In an interview with Bloomberg last Thursday, President Donald Trump joked that White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was “having a nervous breakdown” as she stared at him when he refused to answer whether he thought recently deceased Senator John McCain would have been a better president than Barack Obama. McCain of course was the GOP presidential nominee in 2008, who would go on to lose to Obama.
“I don’t want to comment on it,” Trump told Bloomberg. “I have a very strong opinion.”
He added: “Maybe I’ll give you that answer some day later.”
Trump also insisted in the interview that he properly honored McCain after the longtime senator and Vietnam War veteran died from brain cancer. The White House immediately lowered its flag to half-staff after McCain’s death but promptly raised it back to full staff Monday morning. After some relentless criticism from veterans groups, Trump ordered the flag back to half-staff later that day.
The US Flag Code requires the flag to be flown at half-staff “on the day of death and the day following” the death of a member of Congress. But US presidents have often signed proclamations ordering flags to remain at half-staff until a prominent US official’s interment. The fact that John McCain was a critic of President Trump and Trump ostensibly tried to break protocol by lowering the flag for just a number of hours did read as malicious because, well, he’s Donald Trump.
Trump told Bloomberg, “We had our disagreements, and they were very strong disagreements. I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believed in.”