President-elect Donald Trump proposed various penalties Nov. 29 for people who burn the American flag, despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that this act of protest is protected. One of Trump's top aides expressed his support for Trump's unconstitutional proposals (video below).
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 high court ruled 5 to 4 in 1989's Texas v. Johnson that people have a right to burn the flag, under free speech protections, notes Politico.
In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled that people could not be stripped of their citizenship as criminal punishment because that violates the ban against "cruel and unusual punishment" found in the Eighth Amendment.
Jason Miller, Trump's senior communications adviser, told CNN host Chris Cuomo Nov. 29: "Chris, flag burning is completely ridiculous. And I think you know that and I think the vast majority of Americans would agree."
Cuomo reminded Miller that flag burning, as stated by the high court, is legal.
"But Chris, it's completely ridiculous," Miller countered. "And I don't think there's a big universe of people out there who support flag burning. It's terrible and it’s despicable."
Cuomo reminded Miller that flag burning is a protected constitutional right, and asked if he could agree on that fact.
"No, we completely disagree," Miller replied. "It absolutely should be illegal."
While Miller dismissed the Supreme Court's ruling, several Republicans did not, reports Politico .
Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan tweeted: "Nobody should burn the American flag, but our Constitution secures our right to do so. No president is allowed to burn the First Amendment."
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona told CNN: "I do not approve of burning the flag. I think there should be some punishment, but right now, the Supreme Court decision is that people are free to express themselves that way."
Republican Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin was asked about Trump's proposals, and told CNN:
I love my flag and I love what it stands for and I hate those who want to go out and burn it. 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.