President Donald Trump came out in favor of a fresh effort to challenge long-held precedent by the Supreme Court that would ban the burning of the American Flag. “All in for Senator Steve Daines as he proposes an Amendment for a strong BAN on burning our American Flag. A no brainer!” Trump wrote Saturday morning on Twitter.
The move comes a day after Sen. Steve Daines introduced a constitutional amendment that would “give Congress the authority to prohibit burning the American flag.” “The American flag has been a symbol of hope and freedom for centuries and ought to be respected,” the senator from Montana said. “Our nation’s flag must be set apart as a protected symbol worthy of honor.” Rep. Steve Womack, meanwhile, also reintroduced a joint resolution to that end with 14 co-sponsors.
The bills were reintroduced to mark Flag Day, a day in which the White House was roundly mocked on social media for the way it chose to honor Old Glory. The White House’s official Twitter account tweeted a photo of Trump hugging the American flag at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March, a choice many found a little strange and embarrassing.
“This isn’t some idiotic campaign or RNC account,” Bill Kristol wrote. “It’s the official White House account. How far toward the Third World we’ve sunk.” Others also characterized the photo as disrespectful and more appropriate for a parody account than the official White House Twitter feed.
Trump’s support for an amendment that would ban flag burning isn’t exactly surprising considering he had already expressed objections to the Supreme Court decision that determined burning the flag was protected under the First Amendment. Shortly after he was elected, Trump sent out a tweet suggesting that those who burn flags should see severe punishment, suggesting that could include jail time or loss of citizenship. “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” he tweeted on Nov. 29, 2016.