Perhaps finally tired of attacking CNN and journalists, Donald Trump found a new way to attack the First Amendment by tweeting this morning that, “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”
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
This, mind you, is the same Donald Trump who proposes treating the United States Constitution like his own personal toilet paper.
CNN’s Phil Mattingly tweeted in response,
Mitch McConnell on flag burning: "People like that pose little harm to our country. But tinkering with our First Amendment might."
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) November 29, 2016
Yes, even Mitch McConnell, arguing against a flag-burning amendment in 2006, is sane by comparison with Donald Trump.
The Atlantic‘s David Frum hit on the connection between Trump’s rant last night against the mainstream media and his attack on flag-burners this morning when he tweeted,
If Trump wants to imprison flag-burners, imagine what he’ll try to do to journalists who report on his corruption
— David Frum (@davidfrum) November 29, 2016
It was left to HuffPo’s Cristian Farias to point out to Trump that conservative icon Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia “disagrees with you big time”:
— Cristian 💫 (@cristianafarias) November 29, 2016
Of course, as Politico’s Louise Nelson pointed out in an orgy of facts, what Trump is proposing is to,
“Punish flag-burning (which is constitutionally protected) by revoking citizenship (which is unconstitutional).”
Makes all the sense in the world, you can imagine, to both Trump and his followers.
Those worried by Trump’s stance on the First Amendment have a sound reason to worry. At no point has Trump voiced a positive stance on any free speech other than his own, claiming earlier this year that freedom of the press has to go because he’s “not like other people.”
He said on that occasion,
“With me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people…We’re gonna…have people sue you like you never get sued before.”
Trump has demonstrated once again this morning that he has no more admiration for the Constitution than he does for anything else (journalists) who challenge his perception of reality, and that is something that should put fear into the heart of every American.