Old Glory is flying at full mast less than 48 hours after the passing of Senator John McCain.
Journalists noticed the flag’s position change immediately after midnight Monday morning and interpreted it as a snub of the deceased statesman and war hero by President trump. All other flags at federal sites throughout the District of Columbia remain at half mast. (The Daily Caller)
Fairly striking image — all of the flags surrounding the Washington Monument are at half-staff, though the flag atop the White House was raised to full staff just after midnight. pic.twitter.com/BwKRbqKk0G
— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) August 27, 2018
The practices and protocols governing the U.S. flag code are complicated. Official U.S. code dictates that after the death of a member of Congress, the flag must be flown at half-mast on the day of death and the day after. This procedure was followed by the White House staff, who lowered their flag on Saturday after the news of McCain’s death and kept it lowered all day Sunday.
The discrepancy between the White House flag and the flag atop the Capitol is likely explained by a 2012 report from the Congressional Research Service, which states that, in practice, the flag atop the legislative chamber is kept lowered to half mast until the day the deceased member is buried.
While technically in line with protocol, the White House’s quick return to full-mast is unusual. Trump normally orders flags to remain at half-mast for an extended period after the loss of national figures, like he did after the death of former First Lady Barbara Bush.
In the past, White House flags remained lowered to honor lawmakers and major public figures until their funerals.
McCain’s body will lie in the rotunda in the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday, followed by the U.S. Capitol on Friday. His funeral at the U.S. Naval Academy is on Sunday.