NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump says anyone who burns an American flag should face unspecified "consequences,'' such as jail or a loss of citizenship.
"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 Tuesday morning. It was not clear what prompted the tweet.
The president-elect's tweet is a direct conflict with free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag-burning is protected by the First Amendment.
Even late Justice Antonin Scalia, who deplored flag burning, strongly defended it in a CNN interview in 2012.
"We have a First Amendment which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged," Scalia said.
Wisconsin congressman Sean Duffy, who is the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee's panel on oversight and investigations, suggested on CNN's "New Day'' Tuesday that Trump's tweet was wrong. He said, "We want to protect those people who want to protest---. I disagree with Mr. Trump on that.''
Meanwhile, Trump transition team officials are defending the tweet, 1010 WINS' Steve Kastenbaum reported.
"Flag burning should be illegal," spokesman Jason Miller said, adding many people agree. "It's despicable."
Trump's comment also comes after he harshly criticized the Castro regime in Cuba for not allowing freedom of political expression, Kastenbaum reported.
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