WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered US flags to be lowered to half-staff for three days in honor of Americans who have died from coronavirus.
The announcement came as the US COVID-19 death toll approaches the 100,000 mark, and follows calls by Democrats to lower the flag when it reaches that grim milestone.
“I 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,” Trump tweeted.
The Republican president added that flags would remain at half-staff on Monday for the country’s Memorial Day, honoring those who have died while serving in the US military.
While US daily death tolls are no longer on a steady incline, the losses are still mounting, with the total count in the US above 94,500 — by far the nation with the most deaths in the world.
The Memorial Day weekend will likely coincide with the country reaching 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.
The move follows a request from Democratic leaders to do so to recognize a “sad day of reckoning when we reach 100,000 deaths.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote to Trump that an order to fly the US flag at half-staff would “serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country.”
The pair said it would be fitting to pay respects to victims of the crisis while honoring the nation’s military heroes.
“Our hearts are broken over this great loss,” they wrote.
The United States has averaged nearly 1,300 coronavirus deaths per day this week.