Late in the day, and after being urged by older assistants, he gave in and gave brief acknowledgments to the newly-legislated legislator in a statement, after previously responding only in silence to questions.
"Despite our differences in politics and politics, I respect Senator John McCain's service to our country," Trump wrote in the statement on four paragraphs, which dealt mainly with the logistical details he had approved for the week-long remembrance ceremonies.
Later at the meeting with evangelical leaders in the State Dining Room, Trump said in prepared remarks, "Our hearts and prayers go to the family of Senator John McCain. There will be a lot of activity in the next few days and we all know a lot appreciate what Senator McCain has done for our country. "
It was a more robust attempt to commemorate the late legislature than Trump had offered on Sunday and almost all Monday. During a series of appearances to reporters, the president maintained his silence and decided to ignore questions about the late Arizona Republican.
Trump was urged by senior officials, including Chief of Staff John Kelly, to make a more robust statement to McCain He started early Monday morning, but he resisted, claiming that he would not change his planned schedule because of McCain's death. Trump told some advisers he believed that television coverage of McCain's death was exaggerated, according to a person familiar with internal counseling.
As the day progressed, helpers urged him to at least tackle the issue of White House flags. After being criticized for flagging the flags on Saturday after lowering them, he gave up this statement and published the statement on the logistical items he had approved for McCain's memorial service.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was heavily involved in the discussions and helped develop the statement Trump published.
Asked what changed and why the Proclamation was published on Monday, Sanders only said it was the "president's decision and the statement speaks for itself."
Trump also wrote in the statement that he asked Vice President Mike Pence to deliver comments at a ceremony celebrating McCain's life in the US Capitol on Friday.
It had been a deafening silence for a president who was open with McCain and even with the senator died of brain tumor. On Saturday, Trump sent out a superficial tweet, "My deepest sympathy and respect goes to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!" – but no words about the man himself.
For Trump, a more detailed statement was prepared at the weekend, but it was never published. And the presidential termination, which would require flags on federal buildings reduced to half of the staff, was sent almost two days after McCain's death.
That left Trump with the strange man in a capital crowded with memories of the former republican flag bearer.
Even Trump's own daughter, who now acted as Senior Advisor to the White House, was more exuberant in her description of McCain.
"The nation is united in grief and the world mourns for a true hero and a great statesman," she said at statements in Washington.