President Trump has thrown his full endorsement behind an effort to make a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would bar people from burning the American flag.
Trump has repeatedly expressed support for the American flag—from opposing NFL players kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem and insulting the flag, to physically hugging the flag at campaign and political rallies.
The new amendment was introduced by Republican Senator Steve Daines on Flag Day, the Washington Examiner reports.
“All in for Senator Steve Daines as he proposes an Amendment for a strong BAN on burning our American Flag. A no brainer!” Trump tweeted.
The new amendment is incredibly direct and short in its length—just one line: “The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.”
In a press release, after introducing the new amendment, Daines said: “The American flag has been a symbol of hope and freedom for centuries and ought to be respected. Our nation’s flag must be set apart as a protected symbol worthy of honor.”
In 2016, shortly after winning the presidential election, Trump tweeted: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”
The tweet was met with criticisms from both Democrats and Republicans alike as, despite its merits, burning the American flag is legally protected under the First Amendment via a 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Here’s more, from the Washington Examiner:
In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Texas v. Johnson that burning the American flag is a protected form of free speech. It said burning the American flag was symbolic speech and was therefore protected by the First Amendment.
The Daily Mail has more:
This is the third time in the last three years that Daines has introduced proposed legislation seeking to give Congress the authority to ban the burning of the Stars and Stripes.
Forty-eight states passed laws against flag burning, but those laws were ruled unconstitutional in 1989 following the Supreme Court decision in the Texas v. Johnson case.
‘Johnson’ refers to Gregory Johnson, who was arrested by authorities in Texas after he burned the flag outside the Republican National Convention in Dallas in 1984.