Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
What focused him on this unnecessary-to-the-transition topic?
I guess it's the flag-burning that's accompanied some of the post-election protesting:
On Veterans Day, just a couple days after Election day, a group of about 150 [Hampshire College] students burned an American flag in the middle of campus during the dark of the night. “I don’t think anyone here was angry about it (flag burning),” says junior environmental studies major Aaron Rollins. “Emotions were running high after the election and people weren’t happy. We don’t support anything about Donald Trump.”And:
Students at American University in Washington, D.C., torched American flags in protest of Donald Trump’s win in Tuesday’s presidential election.If Trump's enthusiasm for punishing flag-burning arises out of vengeance toward his political antagonists, it only makes it worse.
Flag-burning and freedom of expression were one of Justice Scalia's favorite subjects. He joined the majority opinion in Texas v. Johnson, which said there is a free-speech right to burn the flag as symbolic expression, and he loved — in his public performances — to say things like:
“If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag. But I am not king.”Donald Trump also is not king. And I'd like to see better evidence that he knows the scope of the job the people have given him, which is to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, including the First Amendment.
AND: I see the way this — like that "millions of people who voted illegally" tweet — may be simply a trick to bait his antagonists and amuse his fans. It's just junk, a distraction, and it's funny the way we jump at what should be nothing. Does he think the presidency is his plaything, some kind of joke? To ask that is to be distracted, but from what? Perhaps from how serious he really is.