Republican Rep. Justin Amash broke rank with his party's leader, President-elect Donald Trump. Amash tweeted a response to a tweet from Trump the day before.
“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag -- if they do, there must be consequences -- perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Trump tweeted on Nov. 29, reports The Hill. It is unclear if Trump was referring to a specific incident.
Less than two hours later, Amash tweeted his response to Trump.
“Nobody should burn the American flag, but our Constitution secures our right to do so,” Amash began. “No president is allowed to burn the First Amendment.”
Two other Republican members of Congress also broke rank with Trump.
“I don’t think we want to make this a legal issue,” Rep. Sean Duffy, a Republican from Wisconsin, told CNN, notes The Hill. “So I disagree with Mr. Trump on that, and the court is probably right," Duffy continued, citing the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case, Texas v. Johnson, which protects flag burning under the First Amendment right to free speech.
“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,” Duffy said.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, agreed. “We have a First Amendment right,” McCarthy began on MSNBC, notes The Hill. “We’ll protect our First Amendment. That’s what the court has upheld.”
According to Politico, Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky and the Senate majority leader, further added to those in the Republican Party disagreeing with Trump.
"The Supreme Court has held that that activity is a protected First Amendment right, a form of unpleasant speech, and in this country we have a long tradition of respecting unpleasant speech,” McConnell told reporters on Nov. 29. “I happen to support the Supreme Court's decision on that matter."