Donald Trump was furious when he learned that the Department of Homeland Security ordered flags lowered around the country following the death of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, with a former official claiming he had aides call in the middle of the night to order them to be raised again.
Miles Taylor — the former chief of staff to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who this week revealed that he was the author of a scathing op-ed published in 2018 warning of the dangers that Trump posed — discussed the incident regarding McCain in an interview this week. Speaking to The Washington Post, he said that his breaking point with the president came when he was on a trip to Australia to meet with America’s intelligence community partners. While there, he received a phone call in the middle of the night from a White House staffer “frantically” trying to reach him and Nielsen to say that “the president is furious that the flags are lowered for John McCain and he wants you guys to order them raised back up.”
As Taylor recounted, it was a sobering moment.
“That was like a gut punch in the middle of the night to be like, the man you’re working for now wants you to dishonor a man you’ve revered throughout your career,” he said.
He said that officials went back and forth with the White House throughout the early morning hours, pushing back on the request, saying they would only have the flags raised again if Trump were willing to issue a written order. While this was taking place, Taylor said that White House officials — including then-chief of staff John Kelly — were trying to convince Trump how petty it would look if he dishonored McCain and broke tradition by having them brought up again.
As The Inquisitr noted, Trump still came under fire at the time for having the flags re-raised less than 48 hours after McCain’s passing and waiting several days before issuing a more detailed statement recognizing the senator and former Republican presidential candidate’s accomplished life.
Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who has been among the president’s most vocal critics on the right, told the The Washington Post at the time that Trump appeared to be angered that McCain, whom he frequently attacked, was getting more attention than him.
“You know what is making Donald Trump the craziest right now is he’s not the center of attention,” he said. “He’s crawling the damn walls because they’re running story after story on John McCain and he hates it because he’s not the center of attention.”