MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday said that the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day McConnell urges GOP senators to 'keep your powder dry' on Supreme Court vacancy McSally says current Senate should vote on Trump nominee MORE (R-Ariz.) “was laughing at the gates of St. Peter” when President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE issued a statement offering condolences for his death after initially facing widespread criticism of his response to the Senate icon's passing.

“What he did yesterday, he did nothing but elevate John McCain even more,” Scarborough, a frequent Trump critic, said. “McCain was laughing at the gates of St. Peter all day yesterday, or if he decided to take a detour and raise a little hell, he had Lucifer winking at him saying, ‘That’s pretty good, you really set that sucker up.' ”

Trump drew backlash shortly after McCain’s death on Saturday after publishing a brief tweet conveying his “deepest sympathies and respect" to the late senator’s family that failed to offer any praise for the senator himself.

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Various media outlets also reported that the president rejected a laudatory statement from the White House praising the late senator as a "hero" in favor of the succinct tweet. 

The president later expressed "respect" for McCain’s public service on Monday and ordered flags over the White House to fly at half-staff after facing considerable pushback when the flags were returned to full staff Monday after having been lowered for just over a day.

“McCain had another day where we all get an opportunity to look at the greatness of his character compared to this clown who wouldn’t even lower the flag to half-mast,” Scarborough said in reference to the president. 

“The point is not that I am shocked by Donald Trump’s behavior, in that it shows him to be a cruel, callous bully — we’ve known that a very long time,” Scarborough continued. “I’m shocked how self-defeating it seems, almost every action he takes is — how self-defeating, how he’s harming himself, how he’s elevating his opponents, how he does it so often in a way that no other adult — effective president, CEO, church leader, football coach, you name it, so self-defeating.” 

Trump’s response to the Senate icon's passing fueled complaints from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who felt the president was not offering proper respect to the Republican icon, who passed on Saturday at age 81 just over a year after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

McCain will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, Sept. 2, following a week of memorial services commemorating his life.