The White House announced today that President Obama has ordered federal government flags to fly at half-staff in memory of the five people who died in the Chattanooga terrorist attack. Many had called on President Obama to do this and he was criticized for the amount of time that it took him to announce this. The shooting had happened five days prior to the President’s proclamation.
Beating President Obama to it was Donald Trump, the business mogul and 2016 presidential candidate. As part of his efforts to rehabilitate himself with the veterans community after attacking Senator John McCain, Trump announced that all of the flags at his buildings and properties will fly at half-staff. He criticized President Obama’s lack of action, saying, “This disgraceful omission is unacceptable and yet another example of our incompetent politicians. It is a simple yet meaningful and important gesture that signifies our respect and recognition for these great soldiers who lost their lives. We must do better for all Americans, especially our military.”
Trump also announced a hotline and email address for veterans to tell their stories about the Department of Veterans Affairs. Trump has focused on the crisis at the VA recently and pledged to tackle it as President. The press release said that Trump would take all the stories into account if elected President and “If he is elected President he will take care of these and all Veteran complaints very quickly and efficiently like a world-class business man can do… .”
After the President’s announcement was made, Trump praised it on Facebook, “I’m glad President Obama followed my lead and lowered the flags half-staff. It’s about time!”
Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ), also a 2016 candidate, announced that New Jersey flags will fly at half-staff in memory of the five killed. “It is with profound sadness that we mourn the devastating loss of the victims of this American tragedy and pause to offer our deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones,” he said.