GOP rep: 'No president is allowed to burn the First Amendment’

GOP rep: 'No president is allowed to burn the First Amendment’
© Greg Nash

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashBipartisan group asks DHS, ICE to halt deportations of Iraqi nationals Overnight Defense: House votes to end US support for Yemen war | Vote expected to force Trump's second veto of presidency | More Russian troops may head to Venezuela | First 'Space Force' hearing set for next week House ignores Trump veto threat, approves bill ending US support for Yemen war MORE (R-Mich.) on Tuesday defended the constitutionality of flag burning, saying President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE would violate freedom of speech if he cracked down on it.

"Nobody should burn the American flag, but our Constitution secures our right to do so. No president is allowed to burn the First Amendment," Amash tweeted.


Trump earlier Tuesday floated severe penalties for flag burning, mentioning loss of citizenship or a 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!” he tweeted.

Trump did not specify what inspired his 7 a.m. tweet about flag burning, which is considered protected speech under U.S. law. The Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. Johnson in 1989 that burning the American flag is allowed under the First Amendment.

A spokesman for Trump on Tuesday said he agrees with Trump that the controversial act should be outlawed.

“I think most Americans would agree with me that flag burning should be illegal. It’s completely despicable,” Jason Miller told CNN’s “New Day."

Rep. Sean DuffySean Patrick DuffySenate bill seeks to bring freedom back to banking Treasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns CNN's Cuomo: 'There's 100 percent behavior by people' around Trump 'that qualifies as collusion' MORE (R-Wis.) told CNN he disagrees with Trump, though.

“I don’t think we want to make this a legal issue. So I disagree with Mr. Trump on that, and the court is probably right," Duffy said.

“I think the court is probably right that we want to protect those people who want to protest and their right to actually demonstrate with disgracing our flag, even though so many of us who love our country and love our flag object to it.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also split with Trump and defended flag burning as free speech.

“We have a First Amendment right. We’ll protect our First Amendment. That’s what the court has upheld,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday.