Trump joked with Sean Hannity that a flag-honoring military bugle call was 'in honor of his ratings'
President Trump sat down for an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity inside a Pennsylvania National Guard hangar in Middletown on Wednesday evening, and while they were discussing GDP growth, a bugle call sounded in the background. "What a nice sound that is — are they playing that for you or for me?" Trump asked, laughing. "They're playing that in honor of his ratings." The bugle call was "Retreat," a signal that the day is done, followed by "To the Color," which, according to The Washington Post, "signifies the raising or lowering of the American flag on a military installation." The U.S. Army says "'To the Color' commands all the same courtesies as the National Anthem."
Some of the people in Trump's audience stood during the bugle calls, but Trump kept talking about the economy. "Although Trump attended a military high school, the commander in chief appeared unaware of the music's meaning," says the Post's Patrick Martin. On military bases, when "To the Color" plays, all activity stops outdoors and service members are required to turn toward the flag and salute, even if they can't see it. Those indoors are not required to render honors, Master Sgt. Matt Schwartz, a spokesman for the 193rd Special Operations Wing in Harrisburg, told the Post, so "being in the hangar, they didn't have to do anything special."
Trump, of course, has been hammering NFL players who don't stand during the national anthem, with some success. Still, if you did not go through basic training, the protocol around bugle calls may seem arcane. In 2007, the late comedian Robin Williams found out what happens during "Retreat" in a very memorable way while he was performing for troops at a U.S. base in Kuwait. Presumably, Trump is not one of the millions of people who've watched the clip, but you can view it below. Peter Weber
If you think Mississippi should keep the Confederate emblem on its state flag, you're going up against an all-star team including Morgan Freeman, Jimmy Buffet, and John Grisham.
Dozens of public figures who call Mississippi home took out a full-page ad in The Clarion-Ledger on Saturday to call for a new flag.
"It is simply not fair, or honorable, to ask black Mississippians to attend schools, compete in athletic events, work in the public sector, serve in the National Guard, and go about their normal lives with a state flag that glorifies a war fought to keep their ancestors enslaved," the letter read. "It's time for Mississippi to fly a flag for all its people."
Mississippi is the last state with a Confederate symbol — considered racist by many — in its flag. Calls for Confederate flags around the country to come down were strengthened in June after a white man fatally shot nine black people in a historic Charleston, South Carolina, church. Soon after, the Confederate flag was removed from statehouse grounds. Julie Kliegman
Walt Disney World is removing the Confederate flag from its American Adventure history show in Epcot, joining federal cemeteries, eBay, Amazon, and the South Carolina Statehouse as the latest organization to distance itself from the Civil War symbol, which many believe is racist.
Disney's Confederate flag was displayed with 40 other flags from throughout American history during a show with talking animatronics that reference slavery, the Civil War, and abolitionists, the Orlando Sentinel reports. While Disney's show used the third flag of the Confederacy, which is not precisely the same in appearance as the now-infamous Confederate battle flag, it still displayed the recognizable red, white, and blue Southern Cross. Jeva Lange
The House moved to ban Confederate flags from historic federal cemeteries in the South in a vote Tuesday night, The Associated Press reports. The measure, proposed by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), prevents private groups from decorating the graves of soldiers with Confederate Flags in Southern states that observe Confederate Memorial Day. The flag ban was accepted by a voice vote last night; the entirety of the Park Service funding bill will be voted on tomorrow.
A state paid holiday in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, Confederate Memorial Day is additionally observed in Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. While the dates of the memorial day vary, celebrations often coincide with the birthday of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Several states likewise celebrate the birthday of Robert E. Lee.
On Monday, the South Carolina Senate voted to remove the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds; lawmakers nationwide began pushing for the removal of Confederate flags, considered by many to be a racist symbol, after a white gunman last month killed nine African-Americans attending a Bible study group in a historically black Charleston church. Jeva Lange
An activist took down South Carolina's Confederate flag, and Michael Moore is offering to pay her bail
Liberal documentary filmmaker Michael Moore offered to pay any bail and legal fees for Bree Newsome, the black activist who was arrested for scaling a flagpole on South Carolina statehouse grounds and removing the Confederate flag Saturday morning. The flag was reinstated before a pro-Confederate flag rally.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) June 27, 2015
Moore wasn't the only one ready to fork over money for the cause. An Indiegogo campaign has already raised more than $17,000 for Newsome and other activists in the movement protesting violence against black people.
The debate over the Confederate flag gained attention after a white shooter killed nine people in a historically black Charleston church earlier this month. Gov. Nikki Haley called for the flag's removal, but legislators must pass a measure to ensure it comes down. Julie Kliegman
An unidentified black woman, believed to be activist Bree Newsome, climbed a flagpole on South Carolina's statehouse grounds to remove the Confederate flag Saturday morning, The Associated Press reports. Police arrested her and a man on the property. The flag is expected to be raised again Saturday for a pro-Confederate flag rally.
— Ferguson Action (@fergusonaction) June 27, 2015
Debate over the flag was renewed earlier this month when a white man fatally shot nine people at a historically black church in Charleston. Gov. Nikki Haley has called on state legislators to authorize the flag's permanent removal from statehouse grounds. Julie Kliegman
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) ordered the immediate removal of the Confederate flag from the state Capitol building, Birmingham News reports.
Two workers came out of the Capitol building about 8:20 a.m. and with no fanfare quickly and quietly took the flag down. They declined to answer questions. Moments later Gov. Bentley emerged from the Capitol on his way to an appearance in Hackleburg. Asked if he had ordered the flag taken down, the governor said, "Yes I did." [Birmingham News]
When asked for his reason, Gov. Bentley replied, "This is the right thing to do." The Confederate flag remains at the center of controversy with many retailers, including Walmart and Amazon, banning its sale following the recent allegedly racially motivated shooting at a historically black South Carolina church. Jeva Lange
eBay has become the latest retailer to announce a ban on the sale of Confederate flag merchandise, joining Sears and Walmart, who made their announcements yesterday. A spokesperson for eBay clarified that the Confederate flag has "become a contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism," and that it would no longer be sold on the website.
Amazon did not respond to CNN's inquires about flag sales. At time of publishing, their Confederate flag purchases are up 3,620 percent in Patio, Lawn & Garden sales, with a 3-foot-by-5-foot flag the fifth best seller in the department.
Yesterday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the statehouse; in a special session today, the House voted 103-10 to discuss its removal. Debate continues across the nation about the legacy of the symbol.