John McCain’s death brought out the question: should the US flag actually fly at half-mast?

Aug 31, 2018
08:24 P.M.

The reaction of the president to the senator's death sparked outrage as many felt returning the flag to full-mast just two days after his passing was disrespectful.


Senator John McCain passed away on August 25 after a lengthy battle against brain cancer. In the wake of his death, the country went into mourning, and all the flags in the country were lowered to half-mast when the news broke.

But on Monday, two days later, President Donald Trump raised the White House's flag to full-staff again. Many citizens were furious over the decision, citing Trump's well-known dislike for the senator as his reasoning for being disrespectful while all other flags remained lowered.

On Tuesday, bowing to the pressure, he signed an order that all flags should remain at half-staff until the day of the funeral, and lowered the one on the White House again.

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

But according to the United States code, the legal requirement regarding the flag in honoring the death of a senator is only that it needs to be at half-staff on the day of the death and the day following. By this logic, Trump followed the law when he re-raised the flag.


The death of a president warrants the flag being lowered for 30 days, and a vice-president gets 10 days.

While these are the basic rules, a president is at liberty to afford someone a longer display of respect in the case of prominent figures.


As per Cornell Law School, it is at the discretion of the president to also lower the flag for the deaths of other non-official persons in the country for a reasonable period of time.

With the level of respect for McCain, who served not only as a senator, but as a soldier in the Vietnam War, where he was a prisoner of war for five years, most institutions decided to keep the flag lowered to half-mast on Monday.

The Atlantic referred to Trump's decision to raise the flag fully as "combining most of the worst aspects of Donald Trump’s presidency: pettiness as a major motivating force for administration policy, a preference for sowing division over unity, disdain for tradition and norms, chaotic decision making, and an ultimate tendency to surrender."


The president has in the past denied requests to lower the White House's flag, most notably after a gunman killed five journalists working at a newspaper in his city. The backlash from that decision resulted in him lowering the flag the following day.

Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Related posts

Michelle Obama Felt ‘Lost & Alone’ as She Could Not Conceive at 35 - She Described Having a Baby as ‘Magical'

March 12, 2022

Prince Philip's Last Words to Prince Charles Hours before He Died Became a Happy Memory of Him

April 11, 2022

After Mom's Death, Son Kicks Stepdad Out of the House & Posh Car Stops in Front of the Old Man — Story of the Day

February 12, 2022

Woman Cheats on Man, Announces Pregnancy, and Begs to Keep the Child Later

April 12, 2022

Jimmy Carter's Youngest Child, His Only Daughter, Attended Public School That Was 'About to Close Down'

February 08, 2022

Poor Old Man Spends His Last $60 on a Rusty Old Box at Auction and It Makes Him a Millionaire — Story of the Day

April 19, 2022

Jackie Kennedy Hoped Nothing Would Go Wrong While Pregnant with JFK Jr After Losing 2 Children in a Row

March 09, 2022

Kelly Clarkson Says She Will Be ‘Single Forever’ Amid Divorce from Ex Who ‘Was Using Her for Money’

January 25, 2022

Jackie Kennedy 'Wasn't Naïve' of JFK Affairs & Wanted to Divorce Twice Though Stayed Married Until His Passing

February 13, 2022

Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Children Are 'Pure in Thoughts' & 'Actions' — His Kids Remain in Ukraine amid Invasion

March 17, 2022

Jimmy Carter Never Had ‘Ambition to Be Rich’ - He Lives in a $167K House & Shops at the Local Dollar General

February 12, 2022

JFK Jr Tried to Save His Marriage & Did Not Want to Be like Other Kennedys Who Were Uncaring to Their Wives

March 07, 2022

Bob Saget's Longtime Home Gets $770K Price Cut – Nobody Is Ready to Buy House He Lived in until His Tragic Death

October 16, 2022

Jane Wyman Forced Ronald Reagan to Propose to Her ⁠— He Cried While Filing for Divorce

March 26, 2022