Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has come under fire for spending nearly as much as former Secretary Tom Price on private airline flights, but now it appears he also has special mandates for the buildings he’s in.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Zinke unearthed a military ritual hoisting special secretarial flags on whatever buildings he happens to be in. Each time Zinke is scheduled to enter a building, a security staffer takes an elevator to the top floor and climbs to the roof where his special flag is raised. When he is not in the building, the security staffer must, once again, climb the steps to the top and take the flag down.
The flag, is a royal blue with a seal that features a bison and seven stars on it. It’s remarkably similar to the flag for Montana’s Chippewa Tribe Zinke was seen holding as a U.S. Representative.
According to The Post, no one can recall when the “arcane military ritual” has ever been used in the federal government. However, Zinke’s spokesperson claims it’s an example of the secretary’s “major sign of transparency” showing that he is in his office.
“Ryan Zinke is proud and honored to lead the Department of the Interior, and 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,” press secretary Heather Swift said.
The ritual is remarkably similar to the one used to signify when the Queen of England is at Buckingham Palace. When the president is in the White House a presidential flag could also be raised, but Trump has not demanded it.
“We’re talking about Cabinet members and federal buildings, not the Queen of England and Buckingham Palace,” said Chris Lu, deputy Labor secretary in the Barack Obama administration.