The presidency of Donald Trump is just one long, drawn-out argument about the American flag. In our newest installment, Trump is using the dang flag as a weapon as he insists on continuing his years-long feud against a man who is now dead and thus physically unable to continue. And unsurprisingly, for a mainstream press and punditocracy that is already knee-deep in McCain hagiography, this flag thing has devolved into a full-blown controversy.
NBC News reports:
As the nation continued to mourn the death of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the White House returned its flag to full-staff, although it has been kept lowered by past presidents for longer following the deaths of other sitting senators, and the Capitol flag remained at half staff.
For example, after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., on Aug. 25, 2009, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation ordering flags be flown to half-staff for four full days.
Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, the leaders of both parties in the Senate, struck back with their own flag decision, which I’m pretty sure is how the English Civil War started. Per Schumer’s communications director:
News outlets, reporters, and pundits are absolutely furious about it:
And my personal favorite, by ABC News’ Matthew Dowd:
Since President Trump and this disgraceful White House won’t fly flag at half mast for John McCain I will...post a pic of a flag at half mast.
This is the second time in three months that Trump has created a profoundly dumb controversy over the White House’s flag policy. After the Capital Gazette shooting in which five journalists were killed, Trump initially refused to lower the flag. After a round of backlash in that case, the White House ultimately lowered the flag.
Will that happen in this case? Only time will tell, but rest assured: you’re going to get 9,000 push alerts about it until we find out.
Update, 3:47 PM ET: THE FLAG IS BACK DOWN. IT IS BACK TO HALF-STAFF.