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Was Sean Spicer sending a secret message to the media?

During a news conference with reporters Friday from the White House briefing room, the press secretary stood at the lectern and zipped through a series of announcements about the Trump Administration’s latest efforts in his usual fashion.

But something was off — the American flag pinned to the lapel of Spicer’s navy blue suit was upside-down, a symbol some joked on social media was perhaps an ominous warning or cry for help.

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, a flag should never be displayed with the union facing down, “except as a signal of distress.”


But Spicer seemed quick to notice the flub. As soon as he finished his spiel to reporters he began to adjust the pin, but never fixed it.

A split-second later, a member of the press pointed out that the flag was upside down.

“Always helping with the fashion tips,” Spicer responded.

A second reporter again pointed out that it still wasn’t right-side up, despite his efforts tocorrect the mistake.

“Is that a distress call, Sean?” someone added, as the room filled with laughter.

Yet another person made a reference to “House of Cards,” the hit Netflix series starring corrupt politician Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, which used an upside-down flag in a video released on Inauguration Day to announce its new season.

“There’s no promos,” Spicer joked, after he flipped his pin so it was displayed properly.

But it was too late — the Internet had already taken notice, and in a tweet from the show’s Twitter account, “House of Cards” tipped its hat to Spicer.

“Your loyalty has not gone unnoticed,” the tweet said.

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.