WH Reverses Course, Trump Issues Proclamation To Lower Flags For Gazette Victims

U.S. president Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at Scheels Arena on June 27, 2018 in Fargo, North Dakota. President Trump held a campaign style "Make America Great Again" rally in Fargo, North Dakota with thousands in attendance.
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President Donald Trump issued a proclamation ordering American flags be lowered in honor of those killed in a shooting at an Annapolis, Maryland newspaper last week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told TPM early Tuesday.

“Last night, as soon as the President heard about the request from the Mayor he ordered the flags to be lowered and a proclamation is going out momentarily,” she said. “I spoke with the mayor last night and again this morning to let him know the President’s decision.”

Trump issued the proclamation just before 9 a.m. Tuesday, ordering that the flag be flown at half-staff until sunset.

“Our nation shares the sorrow of those affected by the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland,” he wrote. “Americans across the country are united in calling upon God to be with the victims and to bring aid and comfort to their families and friends.”

The announcement comes on the heels of reports that Trump initially declined a request from the city’s mayor to lower flags to half staff in honor of the victims.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Mayor Gavin Buckley submitted a formal request to the White House over the weekend to lower flags in honor of the five employees of the Capital Gazette who were killed in a mass shooting at the newspaper last week, but it was originally declined.

Buckley said he had hoped lowering the flags would keep the attack at the center of national attention and was “disappointed” by the initial decision.  

“Obviously, I’m disappointed, you know? … Is there a cutoff for tragedy?” Buckley told the Baltimore Sun before Trump ultimately ordered the flags to be flown at half-staff. “This was an attack on the press. It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy.”

The governor of Maryland had already ordered that flags in the state be lowered from Friday until Monday.

Trump has ordered American flags be lowered to half-staff for nearly every fatal mass shooting that’s received national attention since coming into office, including the attacks at U.S. schools in recent months.

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