After Complaints, White House Lowers Flags to Honor Slain Capitol Police Officer


The White House reversed course Sunday, ordering flags over the White House and federal buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of the Capitol Police officer fatally injured Jan. 6 while defending the U.S. Capitol against pro-Trump rioters.

Brian Sicknick, a 42-year-old New Jersey Air National Guard veteran, died Thursday from injuries sustained while "engaging with protesters" during the mob's siege of the building, according to Capitol Police statements.

Following complaints from groups including The American Legion, the White House lowered its flag to half-staff in recognition of Sicknick's death.

Read Next: Post-9/11 Veterans Just Saw a Big Drop in Unemployment

"Mr. President, do the right thing and lower the flags that are under your authority to half-staff in honor of this hero who gave his life defending the house of the people," American Legion National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford said in a statement issued earlier in the day.

In response to a query from, a White House spokesman said a proclamation was forthcoming authorizing flags to be flown at half-staff over the White House and federal buildings.

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., ordered the flag over the Capitol to be flown at half-staff in a tribute to Sicknick.

Messaging from the White House has been mixed. While Trump ultimately condemned the mob, officials have been slow to honor Sicknick's death with the ceremonial flag-lowering.

However, in a statement Friday to CNN, White House deputy press secretary Judson Deere, said "Anytime a member of law enforcement dies in the line of duty it is a solemn reminder to us all that they run toward danger to maintain peace."

"The president and the entire administration extend our prayers to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick's family as we all grieve the loss of this American hero," Deere added.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, also took the White House to task. In an interview on ABC's "This Week," he called it a "national disgrace" that the flag was still flying at full staff there. "It's just wrong," Christie said.

On Sunday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, ordered all U.S. and Virginia flags to be flown at half-staff.

The White House previously took criticism following the Aug. 2018 death of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, a staunch opponent of Trump.

Protocol called for flags at the White House and all federal buildings to be lowered to half-staff for 24 hours upon the death of a member of the House or Senate -- unless an official White House proclamation was issued extending the mourning period.

In McCain's case, the White House flag was returned to full staff immediately after the required 24 hours.

Following complaints from veterans service organizations, the White House issued the proclamation to keep flags at half-staff until McCain was interred at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at

Related: National Guard Troops Deploying to DC Will Come with Lethal Weapons

Story Continues