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.”

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.”


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:

Following the White House’s release and subsequent re-lowering of the flag to half-mast, this was what social media had to say:

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Social Media Reacts: White House Flag Will Be Flown At Half-Staff For John McCain