President Donald Trump is a scene eater. From the moment he emerged on the political scene in June 2015, it was hard to take your eyes off him. He said things and acted in ways that no politician -- certainly not one running for president -- ever dared to. He was -- and is -- incredibly watchable.
What all that means is that when you sit back on a Friday afternoon to write a reflection on the week that was, you are almost always writing about Donald Trump. Not just because he is president, but because he goes out of his way to make as much news as possible, to always be the center of attention.
This week was, in theory, going to be an exception to that rule. John McCain's death over the last weekend meant that the week would almost certainly be focused on the remarkable life of the late Arizona senator. With memorial services in Arizona and Washington, and a funeral service set for Saturday at the Naval Academy, it seemed like this was a week where Donald Trump might take a backseat -- and rightly so.
That's not exactly how things turned out.
On Monday, sharp observers noticed that the flags flying over the White House, which had been flying at half-staff over the weekend to honor McCain, had been returned to full-staff on Monday morning. After a day spent equivocating and taking loads of incoming criticism from all over the political spectrum, the White House announced late Monday that flags would fly half staff over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue all the way until McCain's burial on Saturday.
On Thursday, a Bloomberg reporter asked Trump whether he regretted that kerfuffle -- given McCain's service to the country, in both war and elected office. "No, I don't think I did at all," Trump replied. "I -- I've -- I've done everything that they requested, and no, I don't think I have at all. You know, we had our disagreements and they were very strong disagreements. I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believed in. But with that being said, I respect his service to the country."
Suddenly, Trump was the story -- or at least a major part of the story. Which, of course, is how Trump wants it. Of course, accomplishing a goal isn't the same thing as showing grace and class.
And now, the week that was in 24 headlines:
- White House flag at full-staff after short McCain tribute
- US and Mexico reach a preliminary trade deal that could replace NAFTA
- Trump finally orders flags lowered to honor McCain
- Trump issues statement of praise after ignoring McCain questions
- WSJ: Manafort sought plea deal before second trial
- Manafort's Trump campaign work won't come up in his second criminal trial, prosecutors say
- Trump on trade deal: 'We're working on Canada'
- Trump warns evangelicals of 'violence' if GOP loses in the midterms
- Attorney for Michael Cohen keeps changing his story on Trump Tower meeting
- Justice Department official in Trump's crosshairs faces lawmakers
- Don McGahn to leave job as White House counsel, Trump says
- Trump tariffs on newsprint rejected after US committee vote
- Sources: Second Trump Org employee discussed immunity deal
- Trump touts Puerto Rico response as 'fantastic' despite nearly 3,000 dead
- Google denies Trump's claim that it ignored his speeches to Congress
- White House casts blame on China for North Korea challenges
- 'Nothing is final' when it comes to replacing McGahn
- NYT: Trump tried to buy, bury decades of dirt from National Enquirer
- Trump cancels pay raises for federal employees
- US extends ban on Americans traveling to North Korea