You’ll Never Guess What Trump is Proposing as Punishment for Burning the American Flag
Trump Denounces Flag Burning, Threatens Jail Time and Loss of Citizenship for Those Who Do It
Is Flag Burning Grounds for Jail Time, Loss of Citizenship? Donald Trump Thinks So.
**So Much for Protecting Our Freedoms. Trump Wants to Jail Flag Burners or Kick Them Out of the Country.
**What Freedom of Speech? Trump Says Flag Burners Should Go to Jail, Lose Citizenship
In a remark posted to his Twitter account Tuesday morning, President-elect Donald Trump asserted that burning the U.S. flag should come with severe consequences — like a year behind bars or the stripping of one’s citizenship.
“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag,” Trump wrote in an early-morning tweet.
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
There’s just one problem, though: The ruling in a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court case (United States v. Eichman) deemed flag burning a protected form of speech under the First Amendment. In addition, a 1958 Supreme Court decision rebuffed the practice of stripping U.S. citizenship as a form of criminal punishment, The Washington Post reported.
Trump’s comment comes just days after Hampshire College in west Massachusetts moved to stop flying all flags, including the American flag, after students there allegedly burned one in protest of Trump’s election win. The school’s decision caused quite the uproar, as hundreds of people flooded the campus Sunday to protest.
The topic of flag burning has long been a hot-button issue, dividing Americans on both sides of the political fence. A 1989 Supreme Court decision that deemed a Texas statute prohibiting flag burning unconstitutional sent shockwaves through the nation and drew sharp criticism from self-described patriots. That’s when Congress moved to pass the Flag Protection Act of 1989. However, the act was ultimately invalidated by the 1990 United States v. Eichman decision, according to USA Today.
Trump’s call for the jailing and loss of citizenship for those who burn the U.S. flag is the latest in his suggested efforts to curtail First Amendment protections and other actions related to free speech. The Washington Post reported that the president-elect has gone on to propose the blacklisting of the journalists who fell out of favor with his campaign. He even hinted at libel law loopholes that would make it easier to sue the news media.
Not everyone is feeling the president-elect’s suggestions, though.
In the wake of Trump’s problematic proposal, social media users have been quick to take issue with his obsession for hindering free speech and kicking people out of the country.
The 👏 story 👏 isn’t 👏 flag 👏 burning 👏 it 👏 is 👏 Trump 👏 wanting 👏 to 👏 strip 👏citizenship 👏 and 👏 voting 👏 rights 👏 from 👏 dissidents.
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) November 29, 2016
Defending Trump’s flag burning idea is a sort of litmus test. Loss of citizenship over disliked speech should be indefensible.
— Matt Cover (@MattCover) November 29, 2016
“It is poignant but fundamental that the flag protects those who hold it in contempt.”
– Justice Kennedy, 1989 pic.twitter.com/ldPDJNQgjN
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) November 29, 2016
Weird, none of my Pro constitution friends have spoken out about Trump’s new flag burning suggestions today. 🤔
— Kel W (@Vilkata) November 29, 2016
No eroding of freedom of speech! ⚡️ “Donald Trump proposes citizenship stripping or jail time for flag burning”https://t.co/401t888zdJ
— Candy Wilson (@myatt51905) November 29, 2016
Donald Trump has suggested loss of citizenship for free speech.
Can anyone defend this with any conscience?
— Pace Lattin (@pacelattin) November 29, 2016
I’m voting for Trump because I hate political correctness!
So happy we’ll be stripping citizenship from people who burn the flag!
— Jon Schwarz (@tinyrevolution) November 29, 2016
There’s no word on whether Trump was serious about implementing the punishments, not that he legally could anyway. It’s probably safe to chock these latest threats up as just another one of his Twitter rants.