Trump speaking at a rally in Fargo, North Dakota.

Trump Rejects Request to Lower Flags in Honor of Capital Gazette Shooting Victims

“This was an attack on the press. It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy.”

President Donald Trump reportedly declined a request from the mayor of Annapolis to lower American flags in honor of the five victims of the shooting last week at the Capital Gazette newsroom.

Mayor Gavin Buckley over the weekend ​asked the White House through Maryland’s congressional delegation to order flags flown at half-staff, ​according to the Baltimore Sun. But Buckley said the president declined the request.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed, you know?” Buckley, a Democrat, told the Gazette Monday. “This was an attack on the press. It was an attack on freedom of speech. It’s just as important as any other tragedy.”

Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, ordered Maryland flags lowered flags to half-staff Friday through sunset Monday. But Buckley said he hoped Trump would bring national attention to the ​massacre Wednesday by a man with grievances against the newspaper.

“It’s not as noticeable when a state flag is down but you still have your main flags at full mast,” he said.

Buckley said he had considered lowering Annapolis’ American flags regardless of the president’s decision, but his wife talked him out of that.

“At this point in time, it would start to polarize people and I don’t want to make people angry,” he said.

The White House did not return requests for comment.

Trump has ordered flags lowered for previous, larger mass shootings, including at ​Santa Fe High School in May and ​Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. He also issued proclamations to lower flags after the shootings last year in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas.

In response to news of Trump’s rejection of the request to honor the Capital Gazette shooting, some social media users pointed to the president’s frequent attacks on the media, which he has called “fake news” and the “enemy of the American people.”

Trump made a brief statement about the shooting Friday at the White House.

“This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief,” he said. “Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.”

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