Ivanka Trump: 'Nation is united in its grief' at loss of 'true hero' McCain

Ivanka Trump: 'Nation is united in its grief' at loss of 'true hero' McCain
© Greg Nash

Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump speaks with network service providers on coronavirus response Meadows joins White House in crisis mode Trump says first lady tested negative for coronavirus MORE on Monday said the U.S. is "united in its grief" at the death of the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal Ernst calls for public presidential campaign funds to go to masks, protective equipment MORE, praising him as a "true hero" even as President TrumpDonald John TrumpIllinois governor says state has gotten 10 percent of medical equipments it's requested Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says MORE has remained largely silent on the Senate giant's passing.

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"As we gather here today, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Senator John McCain, an American patriot who served our country with distinction for more than six decades," Trump, the daughter of the president and a White House adviser, said during opening remarks at a meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C.

"The nation is united in its grief, and the world mourns the loss of a true hero and a great statesman," she added.

Ivanka Trump's comments posed a sharp contrast to her father, who ignored shouted questions about McCain on multiple occasions on Monday.

The president issued a statement on McCain's death roughly an hour after his daughter spoke.

Flags at the White House returned to full staff early Monday after they were lowered for less than 48 hours following the senator's death. The flag typically remains lowered to honor lawmakers and major public figures until they are buried.

Later on Monday, the flags at the White House were returned to half-staff.

Flags at the U.S. Capitol remained at half-staff on Monday, and some Republicans have urged Trump to lower the White House flags again.

McCain died Saturday at age 81 following a yearlong battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Even after his diagnosis, he remained one of President Trump's most outspoken Republican critics, opposing the president's pick to lead the CIA and calling Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month "disgraceful."

A family spokesman said Monday that the president is not expected to attend McCain's memorial service in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Instead, former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush will deliver eulogies.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump mocked McCain's status as a war hero, saying he preferred people "who weren't captured."

He continued to chide the senator after his cancer diagnosis. He regularly referenced McCain's "no" vote that effectively killed a GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act at rallies and White House events.

Trump reportedly nixed a drafted statement from the White House calling McCain a "hero" after the senator's death. The president instead issued a tweet offering his sympathies to McCain's family.

"My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain," Trump tweeted Saturday night. "Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

Updated at 4:10 p.m.