Bob Schieffer: Trump's reaction to McCain's death made "a mockery of one of our most solemn tributes"

Bob Schieffer remembers John McCain

Former "Face the Nation" moderator Bob Schieffer is weighing in on the White House's decision to raise the American flag from half-staff just two days after the death of Sen. John McCain.

The flag had been lowered to half-staff Sunday but then raised again Monday morning, even as the nation continued to mourn McCain's death. Late Monday, the flag was lowered once again, and President Trump issued a statement saying he respected McCain's "service to our country."

"To me, this was making a mockery of one of our most solemn tributes to our finest people," Schieffer told CBS News' Norah O'Donnell on Monday's "CBS Evening News." "I've never seen in all my years in Washington this kind of thing, where the American Legion has to write the president and demand they lower the flag to half-staff, where both Senate leaders asked that he lower the flag to half-staff. How does this come about? I don't know."

The American Legion, the nation's largest veterans organization, implored the president to order flags lowered before his eventual proclamation Monday afternoon.

President Trump faced criticism for failing to release an official White House statement on McCain's death until Monday, having only recognized McCain's death in a short tweet.

"I don't know what motivates President Trump in times like this. What I do know, this will not be a part of John McCain's legacy. This will be a part of Donald Trump's legacy," Schieffer said.

McCain was the most frequent guest in the six-decade history of "Face the Nation," with 112 total appearances. Schieffer conducted most of those interviews. He told O'Donnell that McCain's final statement to the American people showed his true colors.

"He thought it was a noble thing to be part of a cause larger than oneself. You know, it sounds like a cliche and all, but he really believed that and if you look at his life, that's how he lived it," Schieffer said.

McCain died Saturday at 81 following a battle with brain cancer. 

Bob Schieffer and Fran Townsend reflect on John McCain's love for his country