It’s never a boring day with Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. Early Tuesday morning, the president-elect tweeted that “nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag,” and suggested jail time or loss of citizenship as possible punishments.
Flag-burning is a common protest activity, but Trump is not the first American politician to suggest consequences for the act. A proposed constitutional amendment to this effect is floated every so often, and Trump’s former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton supported a similar bill in 2005. Even so, Trump has faced blowback for this controversial tweet, with critics suggesting it is an attack on First Amendment rights of free speech and demonstration.
One notable critic was George Takei, who as a child was imprisoned in the Japanese-American internment camps set up by Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II (Takei recently starred in a Broadway play based on his experience, Allegiance). Takei has suffered at the hands of the American government, but made it clear on Twitter Tuesday that he thinks constitutional rights are still worth defending. “I would never burn one, but I’d die to protect the right to do so,” Takei wrote regarding the American flag.