Trump suggests legislation that would jail people who burn the flag for a year

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE suggested at his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday that legislation be proposed to require a minimum sentence of a year for anyone who burns the American flag. 

“We ought to come up with legislation that if you burn the American flag you go to jail for one year,” Trump said, pointing to Oklahoma Republican Senators Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenate GOP divided over whether they'd fill Supreme Court vacancy  Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection MORE and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordSenate GOP opens door to smaller coronavirus deal as talks lag Ballooning Fed balance sheet sparks GOP concerns  The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Lauren Underwood says Americans face economic crisis if Senate fails to act on unemployment benefits extension; US surpasses 4 million cases, 1,000+ deaths for third straight day MORE in the crowd.

“We oughta do it. We talk about freedom of speech… but that’s desecration.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Burning the American flag is not illegal. 

In the 1989 case Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the act of burning an American flag is constitutionally-protected free speech under the First Amendment.

The president has suggested similar legislation in the past. However, his idea has resurfaced recently after several demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd were seen burning U.S. flags.

ADVERTISEMENT

The death of Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody, has sparked massive protests across the country, including in front of the White House and throughout the nation's capital.

During a conference call with governors earlier this month, Trump reportedly called the act a "disgrace" and pledged support for an "anti-flag burning" statute.

"We have a different court and I think that it's time that we review that again. Because when I see flags being burned — they wanted to crawl up flag poles in Washington and try and burn flags but we stopped them," the President told governors, according to audio of the call obtained by CNN.

"They're weren't able to do it. They would've done it if we didn't stop them. I think it's time to relook at that issue, hopefully the Supreme Court will accept that."