Upside-Down American Flag Popular With Right And Left (Photos)


After former President Donald Trump’s 34-count felony conviction this week, right-wing supporters have adopted the upside-down American flag, a traditional sign of distress, as a symbol—but the flag has been utilized from both right and left causes in recent years, from Jan. 6 rioters to Black Lives Matter protesters.

Key Facts

Use of the upside-down flag has been ubiquitous since Trump’s conviction, from his son Donald Trump Jr., daughter-in-law and Republican National Committee co-chair Lara Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.), who all shared images of the distress symbol.

It follows reports that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s home hung the controversial symbol after the Jan. 6 2021 riots.

But the flag has become commonplace in the past decade at protests over government policy—on both the left and the right.

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Key Background

A New York Times report last month found Alito flew the upside-down flag outside his residential home in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2021, just over a week after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, sparking increasing calls from Democrats for recusal on pending Jan. 6 related cases. A follow-up Times report appeared to show Alito displayed another flag used by Jan. 6 rioters at his New Jersey house in 2021, this time a Revolutionary War-era “Appeal To Heaven” symbol that has been adopted by evangelical conservatives, once again prompting recusal pleas. Alito, a conservative justice nominated by former President George W. Bush, rejected those calls for recusal. In a letter to Congress on Wednesday, Alito claimed his wife flew the flags and that he had “no involvement” in the matter, arguing he should not have to recuse himself. Alito claimed in that letter he was not aware the flag had been flown until it was “called to [his] attention, at which point he said he asked his wife Martha-Ann Bomgardner to take it down.

Further Reading

ForbesWhat To Know About The Controversial ‘Appeal To Heaven’ Flag Flown At Justice Samuel Alito’s HomeForbesJustice Samuel Alito Faces Growing Pressure To Recuse Himself From Key Cases After Another Controversial Flag Scandal

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