W.H. flag back to full-staff after McCain’s death, Capitol flag remains lowered

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As the nation continued to mourn the death of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the White House returned its flag to full-staff, although it has been kept lowered by past presidents for longer following the deaths of other sitting senators, and the Capitol flag remained at half staff.

For example, after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., on Aug. 25, 2009, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation ordering flags be flown to half-staff for four full days.


Obama said the proclamation that the “flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of his interment.”

Obama issued a similarly worded proclamation on Dec. 18, 2012, one day after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, died, calling for the American flag at the White House and at public buildings and military posts to be flown at half-staff “until sunset on the day of his interment.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the “flag is to be flown at half-staff at all federal buildings, grounds and naval vessels in the Washington, D.C., area on the day and day after the death of a United States senator, representative, territorial delegate, or the resident commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.”

Image: The American flag flies at half-staff at the Capitol in honor of Sen. John McCain
A flag flies at half-staff at the Capitol in honor of Sen. John McCain of Arizona who died Saturday of brain cancer, in Washington on Aug. 27, 2018.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Presidential proclamations — like the one Obama issued for Kennedy and Inouye — however, typically call for flags to remain at half-staff from the date of death until burial in honor of U.S. senators who die in office.

The Trump White House issued no proclamation for McCain, who died Saturday night.

The flags at the U.S. Capitol, meanwhile, remained at half-staff Monday.


The White House did not immediately respond to questions from NBC News regarding the White House flag and the history of presidential proclamations that order it stay lowered for longer periods of time.

Trump has feuded with McCain, saying he was “not a war hero” in 2015. Following McCain’s death on Saturday, Trump sent out a brief tweet to offer his condolences.