In response to the Trump administration moving the POW/MIA flag from atop the White House to a less visible location on the grounds earlier this year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her colleagues recently sent a letter to the president urging him to reverse the relocation of the flag honoring more than 81,000 Americans who are listed as Prisoners of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA).
On Thursday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Maggie Hassan, and SASC Ranking Member Jack Reed sent a letter urging President Donald Trump to reconsider his administration’s decision to move the POW/MIA flag to a less visible flagpole. The senators wrote, “On November 7, 2019, you signed into law a bipartisan bill that we authored, the National POW/MIA Flag Act, which requires the POW/MIA Flag to be displayed whenever the American Flag is displayed on prominent federal properties to honor the more than 81,000 Americans who are listed as Prisoners of War (POW), Missing in Action (MIA), or otherwise unaccounted for from our nation’s past wars and conflicts. As a result, both flags are required to be displayed concurrently and every day at certain federal locations, including the White House. Notably, U.S. law regarding the display of the POW/MIA Flag at the White House and other designated federal properties is clear:
“‘Display of the POW/MIA flag pursuant to this section shall be in a manner designed to ensure visibility to the public.’”
In June, the Trump administration moved the POW/MIA flag from the top of the White House to a flagpole on the White House grounds in an area that is less visible to the public. The senators warned, “It has come to our attention that this decision to abruptly move the POW/MIA Flag from atop the White House to an area that is apparently not visible to the public may violate federal law and does not appropriately honor the service and sacrifices of American prisoners of war, missing servicemembers, and their families.”
“It’s bad enough that President Trump publicly ridicules American heroes like Senator McCain and others who were captured on the battlefield. He inexplicably promotes the Confederate flag but fails to fly the POW/MIA flag,” said Sen. Jack Reed, a co-sponsor of the bill. “It’s part of a pattern of disrespect by President Trump toward those who honorably served our nation.”
“President Trump dedicated a POW/MIA memorial site earlier this year on the White House grounds to forever remember our heroic service members who were prisoners of war or missing in action,” White House spokesman Judd Deere responded while failing to explain why the flag was moved from the top of the White House. “The President selected a site on the Southwest corner of the South Lawn for this prominent and sacred memorial, which is visible to all those who visit the White House, that features the POW/MIA flag.”
The senators concluded, “The letter and spirit of current U.S. law intend for the POW/MIA Flag to be consistently and prominently displayed, in order to ensure that our country never forgets those servicemembers who have not returned home. Mr. President, we urge you to reconsider your apparent decision to move the POW/MIA Flag from the top of the White House.”