Trump denounces flag burning, Twitter points out it is constitutional
Although the Supreme Court has declared flag burning to be a constitutionally protected form of free speech, Donald Trump said Tuesday he still wants to make the practice illegal.
“Flag burning is completely ridiculous and I think you know that and I think the vast majority of Americans would agree,” his spokesman Jason Miller said in contentious interview with CNN Tuesday when he was asked about Trump’s tweet.
“But legal,” host Chris Cuomo interjected.
“Flag burning should be illegal, it’s completely despicable” Miller continued.
It’s not known what inspired Trump’s condemnation of flag burning, or whether he will call on Congress to attempt a new law banning it.
While the Supreme Court has upheld flag burning, Trump will have at least one appointment to that body and has a chance to alter the court’s ideological direction.
Civil liberties groups denounced Trump’s flag burning statement, especially his suggestion that offenders could lose citizenship.
“The idea that the government could not only censor someone for engaging in political speech, but actually revoke a protester’s U.S. citizenship as a punishment for political speech is unconstitutional and fundamentally un-American,” said Lee Rowland, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said there was a bipartisan consensus that flag burning was offensive, but also that it’s protected under the First Amendment. “This is not the first thing the president-elect has said or tweeted that President Obama disagrees with,” Earnest said.