Many people across the United States either have not heard of Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, or recognize his name as one of the Democratic presidential candidates whose campaign has not been getting much traction. But thanks to an unforced error by the national embarrassment known as the Republican Party, Moulton’s national profile improved this week as he skillfully exposed the GOP for its shameful mix of arrogance, ignorance, and hypocrisy.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel recently sent a letter to several Democrats along with a copy of the United States Flag Code and a folded American flag. The letter began, “In recent weeks it has become increasingly clear that the proper respect and handling for the United States flag is an issue for the Democrat party.” McDaniel then cited recent incidents involving the flag that she blames Democrats for not condemning or taking seriously. Finally, McDaniel lectured her letter’s recipients about the significance of the flag as “a powerful symbol of freedom and independence that many have died to protect.” After referencing her inclusion of the flag and the federal law regarding the flag’s proper handling, McDaniel expressed that “[w]e look forward to seeing the Democrat Party proudly support the American flag.”
It turns out McDaniel and the RNC got their wish immediately, though not in the way they expected. Moulton, a former U.S. Marine who served four tours of duty in Iraq, tweeted the following on Thursday, along with a picture of the package’s contents: “Hey, @GOP thank you for mailing me the flag and a copy of the flag code. Next time, show some respect and fold it properly.”
The picture of McDaniel’s package reveals that the flag was folded in a rectangular shape. The Flag Code, which only offers guidance and does not impose penalties, is silent about folding. However, it cautions that “no disrespect should be shown to the flag” at any time, and the longstanding tradition has been to fold the American flag in a triangular shape. In fact, if you’ve ever seen a movie or TV show with a military funeral, it’s almost certain you’ve seen the flag folded this way.
Rather than accept responsibility for the faux pas or simply stay silent, the GOP chose to reply to Moulton’s tweet minutes later. Not surprisingly, it was a thoughtless tweet that only made the GOP look even worse: “You may want to call your office then, Congressman. We bought it from the House of Representatives.” This tweet does nothing to dispute Moulton’s criticism that the flag was not folded with customary respect. The tweet also does not offer any excuse as to why McDaniel’s office failed to ensure that the flag was folded respectfully before they stuffed it as a prop into the boxes they mailed. This whole stunt is just one more red flag that the Republican Party is as hopelessly inept as it is morally corrupt.