President Donald Trump has ordered all U.S. flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of the five staffers killed and two injured in a mass shooting last week at the Capital Gazette offices in Annapolis, backtracking from an off-putting decision one day earlier.
The decision from the White House grants a wish from Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, who had asked the president to honor the newsroom shooting victims by ordering flags lowered. He was initially rebuffed on Monday.
The Capital reports Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee-Sanders called Buckley this morning to let him know the president had changed his mind. The mayor then ordered all American flags be lowered to half-mast immediately.
“It’s a horrible situation, but I think it’s the least respect we could give the journalists,” Buckley, a Democrat, told the paper. “It’s a little bit of comfort.”
CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip shared the official order from Trump.
Trump, who regularly comments on the news cycle (and often makes the news) via Twitter, has not shared why he changed his mind, or even mentioned Buckley’s request. The president, who has called the press the “enemy of the people,” previously ordered flags lowered in honor of 10 people killed and 10 others wounded in May at a high school in Santa Fe, 17 students and staff killed and 17 others injured at a Florida high school in February, and the 58 killed and 851 wounded in an October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, among other tragedies.
The five staffers killed at the Capital last Thursday were editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, community correspondent and special publications editor Wendi Winters, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, sports writer and editor John McNamara and sales assistant Rebecca Smith.
The shooter, Jarrod Ramos, faces five charges of first-degree murder. Ramos reportedly had a long-running feud with the paper that began over its coverage of a criminal harassment charge filed against him in 2011. He was denied bail on Friday.