Following Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) death on Saturday, social media has been flooded with tributes and support for McCain’s family. As the news of his passing broke, President Donald Trump tweeted his “deepest sympathies and respect” to the late Senator’s family – but nothing about McCain.
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2018
The president and McCain had a rocky relationship, often exchanging barbs and regularly criticizing the other, like when Trump said he “liked people who weren’t captured,” referring to McCain’s time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
CNN reported on Monday that the White House had drafted an official statement about McCain for Trump, but that the president, who spent the weekend golfing, wasn’t interested in releasing it. On Sunday, the Washington Post learned that Trump only wanted to send a tweet, instead of giving a more visible statement.
Other world leaders however, offered the sorts of tributes one would have expected of the American President.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for example, said McCain was “an American patriot and her whose sacrifices for his country, and lifetime of public service, were an inspiration to millions.”
Senator John McCain was an American patriot and hero whose sacrifices for his country, and lifetime of public service, were an inspiration to millions. Canadians join Americans tonight in celebrating his life and mourning his passing.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 26, 2018
French President Emmanuel Macron wrote that McCain was a “true American hero” who “devoted his entire life to his country.”
John McCain was a true American hero. He devoted his entire life to his country. His voice will be missed. Our respectful thoughts go to his beloved ones.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 26, 2018
McCain was a “great statesman, who embodied the idea of service over self,” British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted on Sunday. May added that McCain was a “friend of the UK.”
John McCain was a great statesman, who embodied the idea of service over self. It was an honour to call him a friend of the UK. My deepest sympathies go to his family, and the American people.
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) August 26, 2018
German leaders were especially respectful to McCain in the hours after his passing. Chancellor Angela Merkel praised McCain as “one of the great political figures of our time.”
Kanzlerin #Merkel zum Tod von John McCain: Senator McCain war eine der großen politischen Persönlichkeiten unserer Zeit, ein unermüdlicher Kämpfer für ein starkes transatlantisches Bündnis. pic.twitter.com/lSTXZAwHbV
— Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecher) August 26, 2018
Senator McCain was led by the steadfast belief that the aim of every political activity is to serve freedom, democracy and the rule of law. His death is a loss to all those who share that belief.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, “we will remember his voice.”
Senator John McCain stand für ein Amerika, das ein verlässlicher und enger Partner ist, das aus Stärke Verantwortung für andere übernimmt und auch in schwierigen Momenten zu seinen Werten und Prinzipien steht. Wir werden seine Stimme in Erinnerung behalten.
— Heiko Maas 🇪🇺 (@HeikoMaas) August 26, 2018
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen expressed respect for McCain’s “impressively forthright, courageous and indomitable character,” while Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble said McCain’s “unshakable commitment to the values of the free world and trans-Atlantic alliance,” made him “an inspiration to many across the Atlantic and party lines.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted that McCain was an “American and Atlanticist,” who “will be remembered both in Europe and North America for his courage and character, and as a strong supporter of NATO.”
John McCain – soldier and senator, American and Atlanticist. He will be remembered both in Europe and North America for his courage and character, and as a strong supporter of NATO. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) August 26, 2018
McCain ” never backed down from his beliefs & forever strived [sic] for a more peaceful & prosperous world,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted.
I'll remember John McCain as a friend & a fighter. He never backed down from his beliefs & forever strived for a more peaceful & prosperous world. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, thank you.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) August 26, 2018
Reactions to Trump’s cold shoulder to McCain were brutal.
You're total fool and lack any #humanity whatsoever! How dare you reject putting out a formal #WhiteHouse statement honoring #JohnMcCain ! IT'S YOUR JOB!!! Get to work, it's not your place to decide!#trump #TrumpResign #resist #TheResistance #TrumpLiesMatter #TraitorInChief
— Will (he/him/his)🏳️🌈 #LGBTQIA (@WillPolitico) August 27, 2018
If you want to do one single decent thing in your life, stay off social media today. You couldn’t say a single nice thing about an American Hero while he was alive. The country is in mourning and not interested in anything you have to say.
— Lorrie🧩 (@HerzogLorrie) August 26, 2018
The least you can do now is make a formal proclamation for the nation to be flags half mast. But I bet your ego won’t even let you do that.
— Andrea Sanchez (@DreaSanz) August 26, 2018
WH aides even prepare a statement for you. You ignored it. Now we are getting to the low of lows of your presidency when you don't even have the decency to push everything aside to say something for real, from the heart of hearts.
— David Yee (@thedave2006) August 27, 2018
Please say something about the man….put political differences aside and please fly the flag at half mast over America's House…not your house!! He was a veteran, combat wounded and prisoner of war. Please take notice!!
— Gary L Marsiglia (@Miamiblue7) August 27, 2018
This is the only thing you can say? This morning, the WH flag is at full-staff. You will NEVER be even 1/10 of the man John McCain was. He was a true hero, not only in war, but also in lifelong service to his country. You are only in service to yourself.
— Ann El (@AnnEL205) August 27, 2018
John McCain will enjoy widespread respect and admiration and his legacy will be that of a true American hero. Things you will never have. #DonaldTrump is a punch line to a bad joke.
— TorontoMike🧢 🇺🇸🇨🇦🇵🇭#ImpeachTrump (@MStJoseph1) August 27, 2018
American leaders outgunned Trump with their respects to McCain as well.