Trump Says Flag Burners Should Have ‘Consequences,' Despite Constitutional Protection

Donald Trump says that anyone who burns an American flag should face unspecified "consequences," such as jail or a loss of citizenship. 

The president-elect's tweet is a direct conflict with free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. It comes as he prepares to name a secretary of state. 

He tweets: "Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!" It was not clear what prompted the tweet Tuesday morning. 

But the comment comes after a Massachusetts college stopped flying all flags on campus. Hampshire College made the decision after people on campus lowered a flag to half-staff after Trump was elected president. The flag was then found burned on Veterans Day. 

The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag-burning is protected by the First Amendment. 

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said there were no plans for Congress to take action on the issue.

McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that he does not "support or believe in the idea of people burning the American flag. I support the First Amendment." 

Wisconsin congressman Sean Duffy earlier suggested on CNN's "New Day" Tuesday that Trump's tweet was wrong. He said, "We want to protect those people who want to protest....I disagree with Mr. Trump on that." 

Duffy is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee's panel on oversight and investigations.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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