If you were somehow lucky enough to have spent your Monday in a blissful fugue state, please allow me to catch you up on what you missed.
First, the Trump administration raised the White House flag back to full-staff after briefly lowering it following the death of Senator John McCain. Then pundits started freaking the fuck out, until finally the flag was brought back down to half-staff once again. If this sounds like an immense waste of time to you, you’re absolutely correct. It was deeply, deeply stupid.
But if there’s one small upside to yesterday’s ridiculous exercise in performative grief, it’s this: It reportedly drove President Donald Trump bonkers.
Citing “people familiar with the situation,” the Wall Street Journal reports that not only did Trump absolutely hate the fact that McCain’s death was dominating the headlines, but he seemingly felt this sort of sort of emotive garment-rending would be better suited on a Very Important Big Boy like himself.
Per the WSJ (emphasis mine):
White House officials said they prodded Mr. Trump for two days to put out a kind word about Mr. McCain. Mr. Trump resisted, and viewed the news coverage of the former senator’s death as over-the-top and more befitting a president.
By late Monday afternoon, Trump—whom WSJ reports was pushed hard by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders—finally relented and managed to scrape together the bare minimum of nice words for his longtime antagonist in a terse press statement about McCain. That evening he even went so far as to tell White House guests that he “appreciate[s] everything Sen. McCain has done for our country.”
I can’t say for certain, but I’d bet everything in my pockets right now that he then went back to the Oval Office, lined up his staff in alphabetical order, and demanded they each say one nice thing about him, because he’s the president and he deserves to experience love, too.