U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes’ office confirmed Wednesday that the White House had initially declined to act on the request to lower the U.S. flag to half-staff out of respect for the five people slain at the Capital-Gazette office last week.
The congressman’s office said it made the request to the White House seeking half-staff status after being asked by Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley. Sarbanes’ office said they did so on Saturday, and again on Sunday and Monday.
On Monday morning, the congressman’s office was contacted by the White House saying it would not act on the request.
Then on Tuesday, the White House, apparently reversed itself, with President Donald Trumpissuing the order for flags to be flown half-mast nationwide through sundown that day.
President Donald Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders called Buckley Tuesday morning to inform him of the decision.
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.
Buckley said the city will keep the Annapolis flags at half-staff until the victims of the attack — 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 — have been buried.
Jarrod W. Ramos has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in their killings.
The Capital reporter Danielle Ohl contributed to this article.