Trump lowers flags for victims of Capital Gazette shooting

Trump lowers flags for victims of Capital Gazette shooting
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE ordered American flags lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of a deadly shooting last week at an Annapolis, Md., newspaper.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN that the president made the decision to lower the flags after he received a request to do so from Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley.

The order comes after a gunman opened fire at the Capital Gazette newsroom last week, killing five people and leaving several others injured. The suspected shooter was arrested and has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

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Buckley said Trump had initially declined his request to lower flags in honor of the victims and their families, the Capital Gazette reported Monday.

"Obviously, I’m disappointed, you know? ... Is there a cutoff for tragedy?" Buckley said, according to the newspaper. "This was an attack on the press. It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy."

Trump has ordered flags to be lowered following other mass shootings, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered Maryland state flags to be flown at half-staff from Friday through Monday.

In deciding to lower the flags, the White House in a proclamation said the nation shared in the sorrows of those affected by the shooting. 

"Americans across the country are united in calling upon God to be with the victims and to bring aid and comfort to their families and friends," the proclamation reads.

"As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated on June 28, 2018, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 3, 2018."

Trump has often had a contentious relationship with the press, decrying news outlets that cover his administration critically as "fake news" and once calling the media the "enemy of the American people."

The president has condemned the attack at the Capital Gazette, saying on Friday that "journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs."

--Updated at 9:04 a.m.