In response to Donald Trump’s 7 a.m. tweet calling for harsh punishments for flag burning, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) admitted that while he disagrees with flag burning, the act is protected by the First Amendment and consequently cannot be banned or penalized.
“Nobody should be allowed to burn an American flag — if they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail,” Trump tweeted without specifying what prompted his thought.
McCarthy, who endorsed Trump during his presidential campaign, took issue with the President-elect’s stance and explained why on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday morning.
“I don’t see why anybody would want to burn an American flag,” he said. “It’s the greatest symbol of freedom.”
After repeatedly expressing his confusion over what would inspire anyone to burn the flag, McCarthy then defended the right to do so, citing the First Amendment.
“We have a First Amendment right,” he said. “We’ll protect our First Amendment. That’s what the court has upheld.”