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Trump orders American flags to be flown at half-staff as coronavirus death toll in US nears 100,000

chuck schumer nancy pelosi chuck schumer nancy pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.
Associated Press/Evan Vucci
  • Democratic leaders urged President Donald Trump to lower the US flag from all public buildings as the country nears its 100,000th coronavirus-related death.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it a "sad day of reckoning."
  • "It would serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country," they added.
  • Trump later announced on Twitter that he "will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Democratic leaders urged President Donald Trump to lower the US flag from all public buildings in observance of the "sad day of reckoning" as the country nears its 100,000th coronavirus-related death.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer on Thursday wrote a letter to Trump asking him to fly the flag at half-staff, a symbolic act reserved for moments of national mourning, when the 100,000th person dies of coronavirus-related illnesses.

"Respectful of them and the loss to our country, we are writing to request that you order flags to be flown at half-staff on all public buildings in our country on the sad day of reckoning when we reach 100,000 deaths," the two Democrats said.

"It would serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country," they added.

Following the request, Trump ordered US flags on federal buildings and national monuments to be flown at half-staff for the next three days, "in memory of the Americans we have lost to the coronavirus."

The decision to fly the American flag at half-staff is made by the president, governor of a state or territory, or local leaders. Leaders from federal departments or agencies are also authorized to fly the flag at half-staff on building grounds and naval ships.

The flag is to be flown at half-staff on Monday in observance of Memorial Day. It will be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon, and then "raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset," according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The act was officially implemented by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954.

As of Thursday afternoon, the US reported over 1,570,000 cases and 94,560 deaths. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield said that 12 different forecasting models showed "an increase in deaths in the coming weeks" and that the country would exceed 100,000 deaths by June 1.

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