House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote to President Donald Trump on Thursday to request that federal flags be lowered to mark the number of COVID-19 deaths when the toll reaches 100,000 in the United States.
The two suggested that the measure would mark the “sad day of reckoning” when the threshold is met.
“Respectful of them and the loss to our country, we are writing to request that you order flags to be flown at half staff on all public buildings in our country on the sad day of reckoning when we reach 100,000 deaths,” Pelosi and Schumer added. “It would serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country.”
“As we pay our respects to them, sadly, our country mourns the deaths of nearly 100,000 Americans from COVID-19,” they said. “Our hearts are broken over this great loss and our prayers are with their families.”
The president has the power to issue a proclamation to order the flags be flown at half-staff at federal buildings across the country, while Pelosi has the power to make the proclamation over the Capitol.
Trump ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff as a “mark of solemn respect” for the victims of shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, last year.
To President Trump:@SpeakerPelosi & I are writing to request that you order flags to be flown at half staff on all public buildings on the sad day of reckoning when we reach 100,000 deaths.
It would serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country. pic.twitter.com/4zH1s8JtAL
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 21, 2020
The two Democratic leaders noted that Monday is also Memorial Day when the U.S. honors service members who died.
According to a rolling tally from Johns Hopkins University, the death toll in the U.S. is around 94,000.
The website USA.gov, says the American flag is flown at half-staff when “the nation or a state is in mourning,” and a president can order the lowering of flags via a presidential proclamation.
State governors and the mayor of the District of Colombia can order flags to be flown at half-staff.