President Donald Trump decided against releasing a statement from the White House celebrating John McCain’s life and achievements after his death over the weekend, according to a new report.
Trump was presented with a statement over the weekend that touched on McCain’s heroic military career and his accomplishments as an Arizona senator, but ultimately decided he didn’t want to release it, The Washington Post is reporting, citing sources. Instead, Trump told his aides, including Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Chief of Staff John Kelly that he’d publish a tweet.
“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain,” that tweet read. “Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
McCain died on Saturday at 81 years old following a bout with brain cancer. Soon after his death, former presidents, lawmakers, and others all issued statements praising McCain’s accomplishments. His funeral will be held over several days this week. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will reportedly speak at his memorial service on Saturday.
According to reports, the family has asked Trump not to attend the funeral.
Trump’s remarks—or lack thereof—came after the president and McCain sparred on a variety of topics over the last few years. McCain was a major Trump critic who feared the president isn’t right for the country. Trump, meanwhile, said in 2015 that McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He also tweeted insults about the senator on several occasions.
McCain, who’s remembered by most as an American hero, will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy’s cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland on Sunday.