Staffers have taken to hoisting a special flag atop the Interior Department headquarters whenever Secretary Ryan Zinke is in the building, leaving critics scratching their heads over the pomp and circumstance uncommon in federal government.
When Zinke walks in, a security staffer goes up to the roof and raises a special blue flag decorated with seven stars and the department’s bison seal, the Washington Post reported.
Staffers remove the flag in Zinke’s absence, and raise another one for his deputy David Bernhardt.
Personalized flags for federal government officials can be traced back to the mid-19th century, and gained popularity during World War II before the tradition died out.
A spokesperson for Zinke told the Washington Post the secretary was “restoring honor and tradition to the department”, adding that the flag ritual was a “major sign of transparency.”
Former Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu, who served under the Obama administration, however, was not convinced.
“We’re talking about Cabinet members and federal buildings, not the Queen of England and Buckingham Palace,” said Lu.
Zinke is among several of Trump’s cabinet members under investigation for racking up travel expenses on chartered jets.