Speed Reads

The Flag

Trump joked with Sean Hannity that a flag-honoring military bugle call was 'in honor of his ratings'

President Trump sat down for an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity inside a Pennsylvania National Guard hangar in Middletown on Wednesday evening, and while they were discussing GDP growth, a bugle call sounded in the background. "What a nice sound that is — are they playing that for you or for me?" Trump asked, laughing. "They're playing that in honor of his ratings." The bugle call was "Retreat," a signal that the day is done, followed by "To the Color," which, according to The Washington Post, "signifies the raising or lowering of the American flag on a military installation." The U.S. Army says "'To the Color' commands all the same courtesies as the National Anthem."

Some of the people in Trump's audience stood during the bugle calls, but Trump kept talking about the economy. "Although Trump attended a military high school, the commander in chief appeared unaware of the music's meaning," says the Post's Patrick Martin. On military bases, when "To the Color" plays, all activity stops outdoors and service members are required to turn toward the flag and salute, even if they can't see it. Those indoors are not required to render honors, Master Sgt. Matt Schwartz, a spokesman for the 193rd Special Operations Wing in Harrisburg, told the Post, so "being in the hangar, they didn't have to do anything special."

Trump, of course, has been hammering NFL players who don't stand during the national anthem, with some success. Still, if you did not go through basic training, the protocol around bugle calls may seem arcane. In 2007, the late comedian Robin Williams found out what happens during "Retreat" in a very memorable way while he was performing for troops at a U.S. base in Kuwait. Presumably, Trump is not one of the millions of people who've watched the clip, but you can view it below. Peter Weber