President Donald Trump reversed course on Tuesday and announced that he would be ordering flags across the nation to fly at half-staff to honor victims of a press room shooting last week.
After Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley made the official request, just a day after the shooting at the Capital Gazette that resulted in five deaths, the mayor was told that the president wouldn’t be lowering the flags to honor victims in his community.
Buckley was upset with the initial choice by Trump. “This was an attack on the press. It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy,” he said to the Baltimore Sun.
Trump reversed his decision on Tuesday. He has previously called for lowering the flags for other mass shooting tragedies, including in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas. Administration officials implied he was unaware of the original denial to Buckley.
“[A]s soon as the President heard about the request from the Mayor he ordered the flags to be lowered,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said to reporters.
In a gaggle just now Sanders said POTUS made the decision once he heard that the Annapolis Mayor had made the request "he asked that we reach out and verify that the mayor had made the request." When we did, the president asked that the flags be lowered immediately."— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) July 3, 2018
Trump’s decision to lower the flags, however, seems to be more motivated by reporting on the issue than by an actual concern for those who perished. Trump historically has treated the press in a hostile manner, and it’s difficult to believe that his sudden change of heart was based on a mix-up in the Oval Office.
President Donald Trump denied the request to lower flags to honor the victims of the Capital Gazette newsroom shooting in Maryland.
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley made the request a day after an armed man entered the newsroom and killed four journalists and one member of the paper’s sale team.
Buckley told The Baltimore Sun he was disappointed the tragedy was not being given enough importance.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed, you know? … Is there a cutoff for tragedy?” Buckley said. “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 Annapolis’ mayor’s demand was not unusual. Previously U.S. flags have flown at half-staff to honor the 17 victims of the Florida school shooting and later for the Santa Fe School shooting, which claimed 10 lives.
Buckley said after Trump’s refusal, he decided against lowering the city’s flags.
“At this point in time, it would start to polarize people and I don’t want to make people angry,” he said.
Twitter users did not take kindly to Trump’s blatant refusal to honor the victims of the tragedy that should have been given the same respect as others.
Shame, shame, shame Mr President. https://t.co/SqV17EPxte— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) July 2, 2018
This is so truly morally wrong- and the next time someone wants to defend Sarah Sanders after she’s thrown out of a restaurant or her feelings get hurt after an eyeshadow joke, remind them of this https://t.co/LJhlPiVaOm— Roland Scahill (@rolandscahill) July 2, 2018
This man is unfit to be leading our country. He is well aware his rhetoric against the media, calling them fake news, the enemy of the people and more creates a dangerous situation. He knows he needs to keep doing to promote his lies. https://t.co/mZqtyw5kII— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) July 3, 2018
"Enemies of the people." And the US President that sees them so is not about to validate the sacrifice of working journalists. https://t.co/BMKH4IM9SN— David Simon (@AoDespair) July 3, 2018
.@realDonaldTrump Your failure to lower American flags to honor the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting victims shows the world just how puny, mean-spirited, and complicit you truly are.— Jan Stansen (@jppffyukio) July 3, 2018
Trump declined Annapolis mayor's request to lower flags in memory of the Capital Gazette shooting victims.— Denizcan Grimes (@MrFilmkritik) July 3, 2018
With Trump, you just have to think what would a decent person do, and he'll do the exact opposite.
Trump has also been accused of spreading hatred against the media. As a presidential candidate and later as the president, Trump has made a point of vocalizing his disdain for certain media outlets, going so far as to calling the press, “the enemy of the American people.”
Trump, in a concise statement, said the press should be free of the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs.
Before going any further today, I want to address the horrific shooting that took place yesterday at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. This attack shocked the conscience of our Nation, and filled our hearts with grief... pic.twitter.com/LALXGhk04b— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2018
Despite Trump’s refusal to lower down flags for the victims of the horrific shooting, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, ordered state flags be flown at half-staff “as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless act of violence perpetrated... against employees of the Capital Gazette.”
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Leah Millis