President Trump wishes he could attend John McCain’s funeral like the rest of the Washington glitterati, according to a story in Wednesday’s Washington Post.
But he has become “President non grata” and “often unwelcome and unwilling to perform basic rituals of the office,” read the headline above a story by White House reporter Ashley Parker.
“Shunned at two funerals and one (royal) wedding so far, President Trump may well be on his way to becoming president non grata,” Parker wrote.
He has “come to occupy the role of pariah – both unwelcome and unwilling to perform the basic rituals and ceremonies of the presidency, from public displays of mourning to cultural ceremonies.”
Trump was disinvited to McCain’s funeral, Parker wrote. The Bush family quietly asked Trump to stay away from the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush. He skipped the Kennedy Center Honors last year “amid a political backlash from some of the honorees.”
Regarding the royal wedding and the funeral of Barbara Bush, U.S. presidents do not usually attend such functions. Rather, they send their vice presidents or wives, as Trump did in the case of Bush.
Parker later wrote that the royal wedding excluded not only Trump but nearly everyone in politics.
Parker also fails to note that Trump would have been unlikely to attend McCain’s funeral. McCain’s attacks on Trump and the legislative program of the Republican Party built enmity between the two.
“Trump’s bitter feelings toward McCain.. dominate[d] the first 48 hours after the senator’s death,” Parker wrote. But McCain’s feelings toward Trump – released in two different statements he wrote before he died – dominated the news cycle.
Trump kept quiet and ignored calls for him to speak about McCain. The Post used this to accuse the president of ignoring “repeated entreaties to offer any thoughts on McCain.”
He “flew the flag at full staff for much of the day Monday,” the Post reported. “Ultimately, and grudgingly, [Trump] caved to public and private pressure Monday afternoon and issued an official proclamation to lower the flag in honor of McCain’s death.”
It does not mention it was Trump who has attempted to avoid the controversy. The flag returned to full staff on Monday, which follows the U.S. flag code.
The code says that when a member of Congress dies, the flag should remain at half-staff on the day the Congressman dies and the next day. Because McCain died Saturday, etiquette dictates the flag should return to full-staff Monday. In the past, some presidents have chosen to extend the half-staff period. In those cases, they have matched etiquette for higher positions, such as justices of the Supreme Court or former presidents.
Parker tried to paint Trump as a lonely outsider. His “conspicuous absences at McCain’s and Barbara Bush’s funerals offer perhaps the starkest examples of the ways in which Trump finds himself ostracized from some of the duties other presidents performed as almost de facto aspects of their job.”
“It is a tearing of the fabric of the presidency that he’s not invited,” Parker wrote.
Reports said Trump met Queen Elizabeth because she was the only member of the royal family willing to see him. She did not report that the queen is likely the only person the president would want to meet with.