Claim: President Obama did not mention the death of Chris Kyle or Nancy Reagan, but ordered flags flown at half-staff for Whitney Houston.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, February 2013]
A friend posted a meme on Facebook today, the gist of which was as follows: Chris Kyle (American soldier who was shot and killed at a gun range recently) doesn’t get mentioned by Obama, but Obama had the nerve to order flags lowered to
Origins: Title 4 of the United States Code, which outlines the role of flag of the United States, specifies occasions on which all government buildings, offices, public schools, and military bases are to fly their flags at half-staff, occasions which include the deaths of presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress, justices of the Supreme Court, and state governors. As well, the President of the United States may issue proclamations directing U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff on other occasions, as was done in recent years for the death of Pope John
State governors may also direct all U.S. and state flags in their jurisdictions flown at half-staff to mark the death of state officials and
state residents who died on active duty as members of the armed forces. In some cases governors may also direct that flags be lowered to half-staff to honor the passing of other state residents prominent outside the areas of government and the military.
Christopher Scott “Chris” Kyle was a U.S. Navy SEAL who was known as “the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” (a phrase which was used in the title of his autobiography). Kyle, a Texas native and resident, was shot and killed on
Pop singer Whitney Houston passed away on
Although the White House issued a statement through press secretary Jay Carney after Whitney Houston’s death noting that President Obama’s “thoughts and prayers are with Whitney Houston’s family, especially her daughter,” as far as we know President Obama has made no public expression of condolence or mourning to mark the passing of Chris Kyle. It is not true that President Obama ordered flags throughout the country flown at half-staff to honor Whitney Houston; as noted above, that action was undertaken only at a state level by the governor of
In March 2016, after former First Lady Nancy Reagan died, a new version of this rumor began to circulate: specifically, that President Obama lowered White House flags for Whitney Houston, but not for Nancy Reagan. This is false, as the President called for flags at the White House and all federal buildings be flown at half-mast until her interment.
Last updated: 9 March 2016