Interior Secretary Zinke Has an Unusual Flag Habit

He adheres to old Navy ritual in which his flag is raised when he's physically at HQ
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2017 8:39 AM CDT
There's One Flag in DC That's Different From the Others
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's flag isn't flying as he gives a thumbs while riding a swamp buggy in the Big Cypress National Preserve on Oct. 6 in Ochopee, Fla.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

President Trump may be busting some White House traditions, but other members of his administration are adhering to some unusual ones. The Washington Post reports on an "arcane" Navy ritual being observed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Whenever Zinke is physically in the Interior Department's Washington, DC, headquarters, a flag distinct to his position is raised; when he leaves or is on the road, it's taken down, and an "equally obscure" one is hoisted for Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt. Zinke's flag is blue, with the department's buffalo seal and seven white stars symbolizing various Interior bureaus.

The Post describes the tradition as one "no one can remember ever happening in the federal government," but a rep for Zinke suggests it's a natural and honorable move by the former Navy SEAL commander: Zinke "is restoring honor and tradition to the department, whether it’s flying the flag when he is in garrison or restoring traditional access to public lands." There's no direct counterpart in the current administration, though the personal flag of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson does fly at all times in front of the State Department's HQ. (Zinke previously had something to say about his department's loyalty to another flag.)

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