House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have preemptively requested President Donald Trump order flags on public buildings nationwide to fly at half-staff when the national death toll from the novel coronavirus reaches 100,000. The current death toll is 95,016, according to the most up-to-date statistics.
The two legislators noted that Monday is Memorial Day, a day when the United States honors service members who have died in combat.
“We will always carry their memory in our hearts,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote in a letter addressed to the president, who would have to make the order through a presidential proclamation. “As we pay our respects to them, sadly, our country mourns the deaths of nearly 100,000 Americans from COVID-19. Our hearts are broken over this great loss and our prayers are with their families.”
“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,” they continued. “It would serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country.”
It’s unclear if Trump will comply with the request, which comes shortly after Pelosi clashed with the president over his claim that he takes the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which he has touted as a probable treatment for the coronavirus.
“I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group, morbidly obese, they say,” Pelosi said earlier this week.
According to new estimates from Columbia University disease modelers, lockdown delays led to at least 36,000 more deaths. All 50 states have begun to reopen their economies to various degrees.