Biden reverses ruling ordering flags at half-staff for fallen officers.
President Joe Biden on Friday reversed a previous ruling to fly the nation’s flags at half-staff in honor of law enforcement after the order collided with a day meant to honor the military.
On Monday, Biden announced his initial intent to lower the flags in anticipation of Peace Officers Memorial Day, which honors officers killed or injured in the line of duty, on Saturday. However, that day coincided with Armed Forces Day, which falls on the third Saturday in May and mandates that flags be flown at full staff. Per the United States Code, “The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day.”
Biden’s conflicting messaging on the matter has drawn ire from some Republican lawmakers.
“Earlier this week Joe Biden announced that flags would be flown at Half Staff tomorrow to honor the men & women in blue who died in the line of duty,” Florida Rep. Brian Mast, a veteran, wrote in a Saturday tweet. “Today he ‘Friday news dumped’ that he’d changed his mind: in his opinion, they aren’t worthy of lowering the flags. Unacceptable!”
Mast included pictures of two press releases from the administration four days apart that instructed governors and government entities to abandon previous directives.
Similarly, New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu slammed Biden for his “eleventh hour” reversal and vowed to keep his state’s flags at half staff regardless.
“Late tonight Joe Biden quietly tried to reverse his Peace Officers Memorial Day Proclamation, hoping no one would notice they are no longer calling for flags to fly at Half Staff across the USA honoring our men women in blue,” the governor wrote in a Friday tweet. “This is outrageous and precedent breaking.”
On May 10th, the Biden Administration announced in a release flags would be flying at Half Staff across the country to honor our heroes on the front line. Tonight, in the eleventh hour, the Biden Administration is now no longer calling for flags to fly at Half Staff,” he continued. “New Hampshire will continue to honor the men and women who have died or been injured in the line of duty by flying flags at Half Staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day as we have always done, and as is right.”
A White House official called the reversal a “once-in-a-decade scenario.”
“This weekend is a once-in-a-decade scenario based on the flag code,” an unnamed person within the administration told the Washington Post. “As a result, flag code dictates that the flags should not be lowered today. The president stands by the message of his proclamation and his longtime commitment to working with law enforcement to build safer communities.”