White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday morning that President Trump intends to order the American flags lowered at the White House in honor of the four journalists and one staffer killed by a gunman at The Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland last week.
The Baltimore Sun reported Monday that Mr. Trump denied the request made over the weekend by Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, who is a Democrat, to honor the slain journalists by setting the White House flags at half-mast.
"Last night, as soon as the president heard about the request from the Mayor he ordered the flags to be lowered and a proclamation is going out momentarily," Sanders said just outside the White House Tuesday morning. "I spoke with the mayor last night and again this morning to let him know the president’s decision."
Sanders said that as soon as Mr. Trump heard about the request from Buckley, he asked his staff to reach out and verify that the mayor made the request. She says that once its validity was determined, Mr. Trump asked that the flag be lowered "immediately."
Just after the shooting, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the state flags to be set at half-staff from Friday until Monday’s sunset.
Mr. Trump has lowered the flag in light of other mass shootings in the United States, and Buckley hoped the president would comply with the request, aiming to keep attention on the tragic shooting.
"Obviously, I’m disappointed, you know? … Is there a cutoff for tragedy?" Buckley told The Baltimore Sun. "This was an attack on the press. It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy."
When asked Tuesday morning if the president is committed to stop calling journalists the "enemy of the people," Sanders said that Mr. Trump has a "great deal of respect for the press," but also called on the media to be responsible with their reporting.