PHOENIX - Critics are slamming President Trump for initially raising the White House flag to it's full height less than two full days after the death of Senator John McCain. For many, it seems like another chapter in a well publicized feud between the two republicans.
Stepping away from politics however, it's a logical question to wonder if the President followed protocol in initially having the flag raised.
According the U.S. Flag Code, Trump did exactly what is required in this situation. The code, which specifically lays out guidelines for lowering and raising the flag, says it should be lowered to half-staff "on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress."
Keeping the flag lowered past that point requires a Presidential proclamation, which Trump did eventually sign.
The reason many are unfamiliar with this rule is because many past Presidents have created an unwritten tradition when it comes to the death of acting senators. President Obama, for example, faced this situation four times during his two terms in office and signed proclamations to keep the flags lowered until burial in three of four cases (according to Obama's White House archives online).
Though it might be a suspicious look for a President to raise the flag after the death of a political enemy, it was not out of line for him to do so. According to U.S. Flag code, anyway.