President Trump vetoed a tribute drafted by White House officials that praised the late Sen. John McCain for his military service and labeled him a “hero,” instead opting for his perfunctory “deepest sympathies” tweet, according to a Sunday report from The Washington Post. The tweet, posted after McCain passed away Saturday night, did not say anything positive about the late senator—a move that even Fox News commentator Brit Hume called out on Twitter. Mark Corallo, a former spokesman for Trump’s legal team and a longtime Republican strategist, called Trump’s tweet “atrocious.” He told the Post that “at a time like this, you would expect more of an American president when you’re talking about the passing of a true American hero.” The Post added that this marked a substantial break from precedent, and that many White House officials instead released tributes on their own behalf.
This isn’t the first time Trump has publicly slighted McCain: In 2015, he infamously argued that McCain—a decorated veteran and POW—wasn’t a war hero because his plane was shot down. When McCain was first diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2017, Trump reportedly declined aides’ request that he stop in Arizona to offer condolences. The Post noted, however, that McCain may not have been particularly upset by Trump’s most recent rebuff: “It certainly doesn’t bother me or the people I know close to John,” McCain’s former aide and friend told the Post. “If we heard something today or tomorrow from Trump, we know it’d mean less than a degree from Trump University.”