Social Media Reacts: White House Flag Will Be Flown At Half-Staff For John McCain
Aug 27, 2018, 11:06 AM | Updated: 3:11 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Less than two days after the death of Arizona Sen. John McCain, the United States flag was raised to full-staff atop the White House. It remained at half-staff at many other government locations, including the Capitol and at the Washington Memorial behind the White House.
Flags across the country were lowered to half-staff when McCain, who served in the U.S. Senate since 1987 and represented Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives for five years prior, died after ending treatments for a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma.
Flags have been traditionally flown at half-staff until interment following the deaths of sitting congresspeople, and seeing the flag above the White House fully-raised is what NBC’s Jonathan Allen described as “striking.”
So striking to see WH flag at full staff in the foreground with all the flags at the Washington Monument lowered to half staff in the background. pic.twitter.com/VedJiLKcpO
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) August 27, 2018
According to the official U.S. Flag Code, the president can issue a proclamation that flags should fly at half-staff longer than the time period outlined in the code. Barack Obama did just that after Kennedy died, releasing a proclamation that stated flags should be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of Kennedy’s interment.
However, in the event a president does not issue a proclamation, the United States flag should be flown half-staff “on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress,” according to the flag code.
So while it’s been tradition for a president to issue a proclamation extending the time the flag should fly at half-staff following the death of a sitting senator, it isn’t in the official code that it must fly at half-staff for longer than two days.
On Monday afternoon, the White House issued the following statement:
“Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.”
NEW: Pres. Trump issues proclamation on McCain:
“Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Sen. John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.” pic.twitter.com/mJdFaKf51T
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) August 27, 2018
The flag atop the White House was then lowered again to half-staff.
We gathered social media reactions from both before and after the flag was re-lowered on Monday.
Here are some of the social media reactions before the White House issued its statement on flying the flag half-staff:
McCain only gets the flag half staff one day at the WH. Still lowered at the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/eAdmJJoSlv
— HansNichols (@HansNichols) August 27, 2018
Dear @SecretaryZinke: You served on active duty. As a nation mourns McCain, it would be appropriate to lower the flag to half staff at all @Interior buildings. I respectfully request you give that order, regardless of the views of @realDonaldTrump. It is the honorable thing to do https://t.co/HnxooCDRfP
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 27, 2018
Not protocol for flag to remain at half staff for any longer. Funny that you think he is personally responsible for raising and lowering the flag at the WH.
— Bob Young (@bhoy_67) August 27, 2018
That is OUR house and OUR flag — flood the WH phone lines with requests for the flag to be placed at half-staff until Sen. McCain is laid to rest!
— ~J. (@No1UKnow1000) August 27, 2018
The flag at #iwojimamemorial is at half-staff. @USMC honor and respect #johnmccain and the American hero he was. @RepScottTaylor @LindseyGrahamSC @PressSec this is honor and Valor. #LOWERTHATFLAG pic.twitter.com/F73PFTmtte
— kim stemple (@StempleKim) August 27, 2018
For those who say Trump Is Conspicuously Absent, he did post a very thoughtful and respectful tweet in remembrance to John McCain, he ordered the flags at half staff. So, even with their disagreements, he did the respectful thing even if it wasn’t in front of the cameras.
— Phil (@YOGenStore) August 27, 2018
I’ve ordered the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia to be flown at half-staff over the state Capitol and all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds in the Commonwealth in respect and memory of Senator John McCain until sunset, September 2.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) August 27, 2018
So taking a knee during the anthem is disrespectful to veterans, but not flying the flag at half staff for a war hero/veteran/US Senator is not? Hmmm… https://t.co/oGhvuSJ8ye
— Josh Dean (@JoshADean) August 27, 2018
Get over it!!! The flag was at half staff for 2 days!!! That is what is required!!! Move on snowflakes
— Virginia (@junebug116) August 27, 2018
@realDonaldTrump I completely support you as the president. But please do the right thing for Senator McCain and fly the Whitehouse flag at half staff
— bbash (@bbash64) August 27, 2018
Flags throughout Washington D.C., from the Dome of Congress where Senator McCain will lie in state, to the Washington Monument, to the Post Offices remain at half-staff.
Trump’s White House stands alone.
— Alt. U.S. Press Sec. (@AltUSPressSec) August 27, 2018
Following the White House’s release and subsequent re-lowering of the flag to half-mast, this was what social media had to say:
Thank you to EVERYONE who spent the day calling the WH switchboard and comment line!
YOU DID IT! YOUR HARD WORK GOT US WHAT WE WANTED! The American flag is at half staff to honor Sen John McCain, war hero, who refused to leave the POW camp without his men.
— JustClaudia (@JustClaudia3) August 27, 2018
The White House again lowered its flag to half-staff amid criticism over its earlier decision to raise it out of the mourning position. Flags across Washington were flying at half-staff in honor of the late Sen. John McCain. https://t.co/eyBtYi2myq pic.twitter.com/UUpPFfcF5I
— CNN (@CNN) August 27, 2018
But he did lower the flag to half staff on Sat & Sun as required by US Flag code, the day of death and the day after for members of Congress.https://t.co/32MdwfZ3Hw
— Sierra Sugar (@SierraSugar) August 27, 2018
So glad to see that the flag is back at halfstaff again over the White House. I imagine he POd three fourths of the American citizens when he raised the flag. Probably blew up the switchboard at the White House!
— Shirley Ledford (@shirleydem) August 27, 2018
Funny how now the flag is important. It’s back to half staff at the WH.
Sunday they’ll be back to kneeling in disrespect of it.
— ATown Conservative (@MommaRedskin) August 27, 2018
How many times did you set your flag at half staff for the 1000s of veterans that sacrificed more than McCain did over the past decade, and many as a result of the senator’s own votes and policies? Or do you only set your flag to honor the rich and powerful for political gain?
— PEngole (@pengoles) August 27, 2018
Most of us would have kept it at half staff in the first place.
— Todd Keesal (@Kadmost) August 27, 2018
@realDonaldTrump thank you for having the flag back to half staff . It was the right thing to do . Please leave it this way till he his buried . Thank you again
— Cindy Ree Hundley (@peebel19) August 27, 2018