Harrisburg Republicans are sick and tired of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s flags. So, they’re banning him from flying them.
A temporary budget set to pass this week is on track to include a provision prohibiting any flag except the American flag, Pennsylvania’s state flag, or a flag honoring missing American soldiers from flying over the state Capitol building or Capitol grounds.
The draft language also bans banners, posters, or temporary signage from hanging in the Capitol’s external windows, balconies or alcoves.
The move is a transparent shot at Fetterman, who has flown an LGBTQ pride flag and a marijuana legalization flag from his office’s balcony — a prime piece of Capitol real estate that overlooks the building’s front steps and can be seen blocks away in downtown Harrisburg.
As Gov. Tom Wolf’s second-in-command, Fetterman has used his bully pulpit to champion progressive causes and cut a visible profile in national media.
His job also requires him to preside over the state Senate — a role that’s seen him clash with Republican lawmakers.
Fetterman’s use of flags has seemingly stuck in Republicans’ minds. Speaking at a Capitol rally earlier this month, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, derided the marijuana flag Fetterman displays inside his office, which does not appear to be impacted by the rider in the fiscal code.
“I walk into the Capitol there and I see the grandeur of the building there, and I walk in and [think] ‘how did someone like Doug Mastriano get into this building?’” Mastriano said. “My dad was a high school dropout. And then I go up the steps by the Senate and I see Fetterman’s office with a weed flag and I’m like, ‘I guess I can be here; you can do far worse than me.’”