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New York Times defends staffer after flag backlash

The New York Times is defending a member of its editorial board after comments she made during a discussion about supporters of former President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE politicizing the American flag sparked backlash from the right.

In a statement, the Times said that Mara Gay's comments had been “taken out of context” and were discussing the politicization of the flag and not targeting the flag itself.

"New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay's comments on MSNBC have been irresponsibly taken out of context," the Times said in a statement tweeted on Tuesday evening. "Her argument was that Trump and many of his supporters have politicized the American flag. The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith."

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During an appearance on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” on Tuesday morning, Gay said she had traveled to Long Island the previous weekend and saw a number of people displaying pro-Trump, anti-President BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE and American flags, a trend she called "disturbing."

"As long as they see Americanness as the same, as one with whiteness, this is going to continue. We have to figure out how to get every American a place at the table in this democracy. But how to separate Americanness, America, from whiteness," Gay said. "I was on Long Island this weekend visiting a dear friend, and I was really disturbed. I saw, you know, dozens  and dozens of pickup trucks with expletives against Joe Biden, Trump flags, and in some cases, just dozens of American flags, which is also just disturbing."

Gay added that she thought "the message" those people she saw were trying to send was, "This is my country. This is not your country. I own this."

"Until we're ready to have that conversation, this is going to continue," she said.

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Gay's comments sparked intense backlash on social media, with several conservatives interpreting her remark as an attack on the flag and patriotism. 

 

 
 
 

Gay acknowledged the outrage in a tweet soon after her remarks were made.

"I see I’m being trolled with the American flag this morning," Gay said. "Trolling a Black journalist with the American flag is not the own some people think it is."