After facing criticism, President Donald Trump decided on Tuesday to sign a proclamation to order the American flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the five Capital Gazette victims, who were killed last week inside a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland.
According to a statement released by the White House, the president wrote, “Our Nation shares the sorrow of those affected by the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. 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 order follows after the Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley requested on Monday that the flags were lowered on behalf of the victims but said his request was denied by the White House.
According to the Wrap, Buckley was extremely disappointed by the denial from the White House and told a representative from the Wrap that he sees the murders as an attack on “the freedom of the press as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
Buckley even spoke with The Baltimore Sun voicing his frustration asking, “Is there a cutoff for tragedy?”
Trump has had a rough history with journalists belittling the press as the “enemy of the American people,” fueling rage towards journalists at his rallies by saying they are “sick people” who are trying to “take away our history and heritage.”
Despite his feelings about the media, Trump did condemn the attacked at the Capital Gazette on Friday saying, “Journalist, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.”
When asked about the reports of the denial, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told CNN that “as soon as the President directly heard the request made by the mayor, 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.”
Even though Sanders spoke with Buckley that Monday night about the denial of lowering the flag, she said she was “not sure of the process” which could have lead to Buckley request being denied.
“But there’s a certain protocol that was followed. It was–but when the President heard about the mayor’s request in order for the flags to be lowered,” Sanders told CNN.
The proclamation orders the flags at the White House and other federal buildings and ships to be lowered until sunset.
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