Trump supporters flip American flag upside down in protest of perceived weaponization of legal system

Supporters of former President Trump across the country flipped the American flag upside down after a New York jury’s guilty verdict as a sign of protest to the perceived weaponization of the U.S. legal system.

At least one person was seen waving an upside down U.S. flag outside Trump Tower on Thursday, where Trump returned from the Manhattan courthouse after a jury handed down guilty verdicts on all 34 felony counts in the trial where the former president was accused of falsifying business records to hide payments to porn star Stormy Daniels to influence the 2016 election. 

Republican National Committee co-chair Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, and Donald Trump Jr., his eldest son, have been sharing images of inverted flags online, as did longtime Trump ally Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Minutes after the guilty verdict was announced, Greene posted the inverted American flag on X, where the post had garnered 10.4 million views by Sunday morning. 

Country music singer Jason Aldean also posted an inverted flag on his Instagram account, Reuters reported. 


“Scary times in our country right now, man,” Aldean wrote. “If there was ever a time to speak up, ITS NOW! Make no mistake. We are in trouble.”

Don Tapia, a former U.S. ambassador to Jamaica under the Trump administration and a Republican donor, flew an inverted flag outside his Arizona home, Reuters reported. 

He told Reuters he received phone calls of support and that motorists honked in agreement as they drove by, though he planned to switch the flag back on Sunday. 

Reuters reported that the Miami chapter of the Proud Boys posted an inverted flag on Telegram, as did a similar group called Patriot Voice, which wrote: “In dire distress.”


Presidential historian Timothy Naftali told Reuters that the upside down flag was first used in the 1700s by sailors to signal distress and has a long history of being used in protest by Americans on both sides of the political spectrum. Naftali, a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, said it was used in the mid-1800s by those who opposed slavery and was carried in the 1960s by protesters of the Vietnam War. The inverted flag was also flown in 2020 by some protesting the death of George Floyd and in 2022 after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade

The upside-down American flag also sparked controversy after the New York Times reported in mid-May it was flown outside the Alexandria, Virginia, home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. An upside-down flag was carried by Jan. 6 rioters, and some outlets have associated the signal with the “Stop the Steal” movement. 

Pundits and podcast hosts with hundreds of thousands of followers, as well as regular Americans, rallied around the inverted flag in the hours after Trump was convicted in his New York hush money trial on Thursday. 

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, also posted an image on its X account of an upside-down American flag flying next to a flag with its logo. Heritage is the group behind the GOP’s Project 2025 playbook, a blueprint for ways to reshape the federal government in the event of a Republican presidential win in 2024.

Other posts on social media referred to the verdict as a declaration of “war” or a sign of a coming “civil war,” The Associated Press reported.

The words “RIP America” trended on X immediately after the verdict.

Other widely shared posts referred to the end or collapse of America, often alluding to the fall of Rome. Elon Musk, the owner of X, referenced the civil war that preceded the collapse of the Roman empire in a post on the social media platform. Former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy also invoked the fall of the Roman Empire in a video statement he released on X.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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