President Trump orders flags to fly at half-staff to honor coronavirus victims

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(CNN) — President Donald Trump is ordering flags to fly at half-staff to honor coronavirus victims.

“I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus,” the President tweeted on his way back from a trip to Michigan.

To date, more than 93,000 people have died from Covid-19, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins.

Trump added that flags will be at half-staff on Monday to honor service members who have lost their lives fighting for the nation, as is tradition.

On Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that he order flags lowered to half-staff when the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States reaches 100,000.

“Respectful of them and the loss to our country, we are writing to request that you order flags to be flown at half staff on all public buildings in our country on the sad day of reckoning when we reach 100,000 deaths,” wrote the two Democratic leaders. “It would serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country.”

The plea by Pelosi and Schumer comes weeks after former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, made the same suggestion.

“We’ve lost more people to this virus in the last several months than we lost in the entire Vietnam War,” Biden said in an April virtual fundraiser.

It would seem, judging by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ guidelines for when the flag can and should be lowered to half-staff, that the current pandemic very much qualifies. Here’s the VA’s guidance:

“An easy way to remember when to fly the United States flag at half-staff is to consider when the whole nation is in mourning. These periods of mourning are proclaimed either by the president of the United States, for national remembrance, or the governor of a state or territory, for local remembrance, in the event of a death of a member or former member of the federal, state or territorial government or judiciary. The heads of departments and agencies of the federal government may also order that the flag be flown at half staff on buildings, grounds and naval vessels under their jurisdiction.”

A number of governors have taken this action on their own. On Tuesday, Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz ordered flags to fly at half-staff in the state to remember the lives lost from Covid-19 — and said that the flags would fly half-staff on the 19th of every month for the rest of the year as a remembrance. Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in early April that flags would fly at half-staff for the foreseeable future in honor of coronavirus victims. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did the same thing at around the same time.

According to tradition, Trump ordered flags lowered this coming Monday, which is Memorial Day. “On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset, in honor of the nation’s battle heroes,” reads the VA’s guidelines.

For more on the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

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