The White House permitted Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley to lower U.S. flags to half-staff Tuesday in remembrance of the mass shooting at The Capital last week after Buckley said it denied his initial request.
President Donald Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders called Buckley Tuesday morning to inform him of the decision. The president issued a proclamation ordering the flags lowered nationwide until sunset Tuesday.
Buckley said Tuesday he ordered the city’s American flags lowered immediately.
“It’s a horrible situation, but I think it’s the least respect we could give the journalists,” Buckley said. “It’s a little bit of comfort.”
Buckley had said Monday the White House declined the initial request the mayor submitted through members of Maryland’s congressional delegation. Buckley said he received word of Trump’s decision through Rep. John Sarbanes. Sarbanes’ office would not confirm whether it made the request. Sanders called Buckley on Monday night to confirm the request and said she’d get back to him Tuesday morning.
Gov. Larry Hogan ordered Maryland state flags to be lowered to half-staff from Friday through sunset Monday. Only the governor of a state or the president can order an American flag lowered to half-staff, per the U.S. flag code.
Five Capital Gazette staff members were killed in the shooting at the newspaper Thursday: editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, 59; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who led special publications; editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; editor and sports writer John McNamara, 56; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant. Jarrod W. Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in their killings.
At a press conference in Annapolis on Tuesday, Buckley said the city will keep Annapolis flags at half-staff until the victims of the attack have been buried. Washington Capitals fans gathered to see the Stanley Cup come to City Dock behind Buckley. Bethesda native James Nugent held a sign reading: “Caps stand with the Capital Gazette.”