Supreme Court case ‘flag-burner’: Trump ‘a fascist’

Supreme Court case ‘flag-burner’: Trump ‘a fascist’
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The defendant in the Supreme Court’s landmark 1989 case defining flag burning as protected speech says Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE is “a fascist” after the president-elect called for "consequences" for those who engage in the controversial protest tactic.

“He’s using the bully pulpit for fascism and force patriotism — and I mean ‘bully’ in every sense of the word,” Gregory Lee Johnson told The New York Daily News from his home in the San Francisco Bay area Tuesday.

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“Fascism means taking the national symbol and attaching only one permissible meaning to it. That has broad and dangerous implications.”

Trump earlier Tuesday proposed harsh punishments for those who torch U.S. flags like Johnson.

“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.

The president-elect’s comments have inspired pushback from multiple GOP lawmakers, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

McCarthy said Tuesday that he personally dislikes flag burning but disagrees with Trump's comments on it.

“We have a First Amendment right,” McCarthy told host Willie Geist on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe." "We’ll protect our First Amendment. That’s what the court has upheld."

Johnson said Trump wants to silence those protesting America’s foreign policy decisions.

“[America is] an ugly empire that has done horrific things around the world,” he said. "As much as they want to glory in it, they’re not always the good guys.

“Across the Middle East, they’ve caused mass suffering with drones and backing puppet armies. American imperialism and Islamic fundamentalist jihadism are both outmoded and they must go.”

The Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling in Texas v. Johnson decided flag burning is protected speech under the First Amendment.

Johnson’s case reached the Supreme Court after he violated a Texas law regarding “flag desecration” in 1984.

The activist set a flag ablaze in Dallas during that year’s Republican National Convention to protest then-President Reagan’s administration.