When tragedy strikes, it's customary for United States flags to be lowered to half mast as a way to honor the lives of the victims lost. Tragedy struck (yet again, sadly) a couple of days ago when a shooter descended at the Capital Gazette newspaper's offices in Maryland and killed five people, as well as injuring two others. But for some reason, President Donald Trump won't lower U.S. flags to honor the Capital Gazette shooting, despite the horror of this latest national tragedy.
UPDATE: On Tuesday morning, July 3, the White House announced that they reversed the decision and will permit flags to fly at half-mast to honor the Capital Gazette victims.
EARLIER: On June 28, a shooting was reported in Annapolis, MD at the office of the Capital Gazette newspaper. Unfortunately, five people were killed as a result of the attack. The tragedy is the latest in what's felt like a never-ending string of mass shootings around in the nation, and in the wake of a loss like this one, it's important to honor the memory of the victims. To honor the five killed, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley put in a request to Trump to lower the nation's flags to half mast — which was subsequently denied, according to a statement he made to the Baltimore Sun. “Obviously, I’m disappointed, you know? … Is there a cutoff for tragedy?” the mayor said Monday afternoon. “This was an attack on the press. It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy.” Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the denied request, but did not hear back by time of publication.
Trump's ordered for flags to be lowered nationwide for other mass shootings that have occurred since his presidency. When 10 people died during the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas on May 18, and when 17 others were killed at the school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, Trump approved that flags be lowered at half mast all across the country — so it's a little odd that he wouldn't this time. However, that's not to say that there will be no tribute to those killed. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered that the state's flags be lowered to half-staff through sunset on Monday, July 9, per The Hill.
Despite this move from Trump, the president hasn't been completely radio silent about this shooting. Trump tweeted out his "thoughts and prayers" (of course) to the families of the victims shortly after the shooting happened on June 28, where he said,
Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.
First lady Melania Trump also tweeted out her sympathies. "Today's violence at the Capital Gazette was tragic & evil," she wrote in her June 28 tweet. "My heart goes out to all affected in this brutal & senseless attack, & I send thoughts & prayers for comfort to the friends, family & colleagues of those killed & injured."
The denial is raising some eyebrows, however, because Trump hasn't had the best relationship with the press. He helped make the term "fake news" a word of the year in 2017, and consistently attacks the free press when he feels that he's been wronged by them. In the summer of 2017, he even tweeted out a meme that many saw as advocating violence against CNN, one of his favorite targets. Recently he publicly threatened to take away the press' White House credentials. And in Feb. 2017, he even called the news media "the enemy of the American people." He said in a tweet from Feb 17, 2017,
The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!
So there's that.
It would be such a simple gesture to allow the flags to be flown at half mast nationwide, and I don't see why this is at all an issue to approve. But hey, I'm not the president.