Melania Trump acknowledged and thanked Sen. John McCain for his service to America.
That was very different from her husband who also appeared to be the odd man out among US political leaders for failing to say a single word to honour McCain’s memory.
At the same time, CNN reported the White House had prepared a full statement of tribute to the senator’s service to his nation.
But Trump had other plans. He published a tweet to offer sympathies to the family without mentioning McCain’s heroic service to his nation.
Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the McCain Family. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to the nation.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 26, 2018
As other leaders within his administration poured out emotional tributes, Trump’s tweet stood out as lacking in any acknowledgement.
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2018
Later, using the same words he posted on Instagram but the post had a picture of Trump.
Trump and McCain did not see eye-to-eye, but it’s unusual for a president not to at least make a short speech or issue a fuller statement.
One of the most comprehensive tributes came from AG Jeff Sessions who has been targeted by Trump in recent months.
“For John McCain, his country was his life. He was tireless in its service. Courage, determination and relentless drive made him a great leader.” said Sessions.
“To me, having served with him in the Senate for 20 years, his support for President Bush’s surge in Iraq at a time when things had been going badly and public support had eroded, was one of the most dramatic, important, patriotic and selfless actions I had the honor to witness in that body.”
“His presidential aspirations were entirely set aside. He totally deployed his considerable strength and energy to what he believed was best for his country-—and in service to those then fighting valiantly for the mission the nation had given them.
“It was a very contentious debate. His personal dedication and leadership moved a very uncertain decision to a favorable outcome.
“His ferocious tenacity for his country was unmatched. America has lost one of its greatest patriots,” the AG concluded.
Other members of the administration followed with tributes honouring McCain’s military service and his service as an elected member of the Senate.
.@SenJohnMcCain lived a life of service to his country, from his heroism in the Navy to 35 years in Congress. He was a tough politician, a trusted colleague, and there will simply never be another like him. My thoughts and prayers are with Cindy and his entire family.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 26, 2018
Like numerous world leaders Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also paid tribute to a military and civic hero.
Senator John McCain was an American patriot and hero whose sacrifices for his country, and lifetime of public service, were an inspiration to millions. Canadians join Americans tonight in celebrating his life and mourning his passing.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 26, 2018
It’s expected Vice President Pence will attend the funeral service where Barack Obama and George W Bush will speak. McCain had asked that Trump not attend, it was reported.