Trump orders flags to be lowered for Gazette victims after mayor claims request was denied

President Donald Trump ordered American flags to be lowered to half-staff through Tuesday to honor of the victims of last week’s deadly shooting at an Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper.

The city’s mayor, Gavin Buckley, said the request was initially denied.

Five people were killed and two were injured on Thursday in a “targeted attack” on the Capital Gazette newspaper by a gunman with a grudge against the paper, authorities have said. Buckley told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Tuesday that his office asked the White House to order the lowering of American flags around Friday and the request was denied.

Buckley initially told the Gazette he was “obviously” disappointed about the White House’s decision not to lower the flags.

“Is there a cutoff for tragedy?” Buckley told the Gazette.

Asked about reports of the denial, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told CNN on Tuesday morning that “as soon as the President directly heard the request made by the mayor, he asked that we reach out and verify that the mayor had made the request. When we did, the President asked that the flags be lowered immediately.”

Sanders also said she spoke to Buckley Monday night to inform him of the President’s decision, adding that she was “not sure about the process” which led to Buckley’s claim that his request was initially denied.

“But there’s certain protocol that was followed. It was — but when the President heard about the mayor’s specific request to him, he fulfilled the mayor’s request in order for the flags to be lowered,” she added.

Buckley told CNN on Tuesday afternoon that he didn’t know the protocol for making the request.

“I thought that was just something that I could do as mayor, but we found out that wasn’t true. We understood that maybe the lines of communication might have been down over the weekend, so we waited for the weekend to pass and then we waited throughout Monday, and then on Monday afternoon we were told that it had not been — it wasn’t going to happen,” he said.

“We’re not trying to blame anybody particularly, but this community needs to heal and it needs to see that we care, and they don’t know the protocol of a flag. They just see that it is not at half-staff,” he remarked, adding that feelings are still “very raw” for the community.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mischaracterized Buckley’s response to Trump’s initial decision to not lower flags following the shooting.