Jul 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump orders flags to half-staff in honor of John Lewis after hours of silence

John Lewis
Rep. John Lewis. Photo: Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday ordered the American flag be flown at half-staff at the White House and all public grounds through July 18 in honor of civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), 80, who passed away Friday night.

Why it matters: The move comes after hours of silence from Trump on Lewis' death, despite the president rattling off dozens of tweets since related to former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2020 campaign. Trump and Lewis had previously butted heads, including when Lewis refused to attend the president's inauguration in 2017.

  • Trump tweeted later Saturday afternoon: "Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he and his family."
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted on Saturday morning: "Rep. John Lewis was an icon of the civil rights movement, and he leaves an enduring legacy that will never be forgotten. We hold his family in our prayers, as we remember Rep. John Lewis’ incredible contributions to our country."
  • It was retweeted by the Trump campaign.
  • Vice President Mike Pence also released a statement Saturday afternoon, writing: "John Lewis will be remembered as a giant of the civil rights movement whose selflessness and conviction rendered our nation into a more perfect union and his example will inspire generations of Americans."

Trump's proclamation said he issued the order "as a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding public service of Representative John Lewis..."

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