President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE rejected a White House statement praising Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden MORE (R-Ariz.) following his death on Saturday, according to a Washington Post report.
Trump reportedly told his aides that he preferred to tweet his condolence, and tweeted out a pared-down statement in which he did not offer praise of the Arizona Republican.
"My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain," Trump tweeted after reports confirmed that McCain had died. "Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and other White House aides advocated for a detailed official statement that referred to McCain as a "hero" and gave him accolades for his military service, the Post reported. Aides wrote the statement and Sanders edited it over the weekend.
Trump declined to release the statement.
McCain, 81, died after a yearlong battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Even as his condition deteriorated as he received medical treatment in Arizona, Trump continued to mock the late senator at campaign-style rallies, criticizing him for his "no" vote on a bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act.
The two had an adversarial relationship, and McCain often criticized the president for his conduct and policies.
Following the widely-criticized summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in July, McCain said, "The damage inflicted by President Trump's naivete, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake."
Trump drew widespread blowback when he said McCain, who was held captive as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years, was "not a war hero."
"He’s a war hero because he was captured," Trump said in 2015. "I like people that weren’t captured.”
Trump was reportedly not invited to McCain's funeral.
Top Trump administration officials posted flattering eulogies of McCain throughout the weekend, including Sanders, Vice President Pence and White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne ConwayOvernight Defense & National Security — Iron Dome funding clears House Sean Spicer, Russ Vought sue Biden over Naval Board removal Youngkin leads McAuliffe among likely voters: poll MORE.