The White House has ordered American flags at all federal buildings world-wide to be flown at half-staff until sunset Tuesday to honor those killed in the Annapolis Capital Gazette shooting. The early-morning decision came after the president allegedly refused Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley’s original request over the weekend.
“It’s a horrible situation, but I think it’s the least respect we could give the journalists,” Buckley said, the Capital Gazette reported Tuesday. “It’s a little bit of comfort.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan had already ordered the state flags lowered Friday through sunset Monday. Buckley submitted a request through the state’s congressional delegation for the nation’s flags to be lowered as well, but said the appeal was denied on Monday.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed, you know? … Is there a cutoff for tragedy?” Buckley said on 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.”
The president has ordered flags at half-staff for other mass shootings this year, including the May shooting at Santa Fe High School that left 10 dead and the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.
The Capital Gazette later reported that press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders called Buckley on Monday evening to confirm the request, then followed up with a notification of approval on Tuesday morning. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Donald Trump made the decision “as soon as the president heard about the request from the mayor” on Monday night, the Washington Post reported.
“Our Nation shares the sorrow of those affected by the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland,” Trump said in Tuesday’s proclamation. “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.”
A gunman with long-standing animosity towards the Capital Gazette killed five people in the newsroom last Thursday. He was later charged with five counts of first-degree murder.