Donald Trump Says Burning the American Flag Should Be Illegal

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By Andrew Stiles | 7:32 am, November 29, 2016

Burning the American flag should be a crime punishable by jail time or even loss of citizenship, President-elect Donald Trump said via Twitter on Tuesday.

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag,” Trump tweeted. “If they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

By suggesting flag burning should be an illegal act, Trump appears to be promoting a significant change to Constitutional precedent. The Supreme Court ruled in the 1989 case Texas v. Johnson that burning the American flag was a form of “symbolic speech” protected by the First Amendment, a precedent that remains to this day.

Burning American flags have been a frequent sight at anti-Trump protests across the country in the wake of the election, alongside chants of “Not my president!” In a tweet shortly after the election, Trump described the protests as “unfair” and “incited by the media.”


The next day, however, Trump changed his tune, praising the protestors for expressing “passion for our country.”

Since the Supreme Court ruling, several U.S. lawmakers have tried, unsuccessfully, to pass legislation that would outlaw flag burning, including then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2005.