Sean Spicer's American Flag Pin Was Upside Down During a Press Conference

Images of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's upside down American flag lapel pin amused social media users.

Published Mar 10, 2017

The U.S. Code relating to the display of the American flag holds that "the flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property." That it was with some amusement that on 10 March 2017 social media users began sharing photographs showing White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer wearing an upside down flag lapel pin during a press conference:

The images were frequently attached to messages stating that Spicer was signaling for help, given that an inverted flag traditionally represents a sign of distress:

These photographs and screenshots were captured during a press conference on 10 March 2017, but Spicer was not indicating he was in a state of distress during that event.

Spicer accidentally wore his U.S. flag lapel pin upside down for approximately the first eight minutes of the press conference. When it was time for members of the media to ask questions, they immediately pointed out the inverted flag and jokingly inquired of the press secretary if he were signaling for help or possibly advertising for the show House of Cards (a popular Netflix political drama whose title card employs an upside down flag image). Spicer fixed the arrangement of his pin, and in a lighthearted moment joked that it was not a promo for the Netflix series:


Luckey, John.   "The United States Flag: Federal Law Relating to Display and Associated Questions."     CRS Report for Congress.   14 April 2008.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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