During President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa on Saturday night, he talked about protesters who burn the American flag. Trump proposed that the country should have legislation requiring anyone who burns the flag to be in jail for a year.
Watch Trump’s Statement About Flag Burning
Here’s the moment when Trump made that statement.
We oughta come up with legislation that if you burn the American flag, you go to jail for one year. One year… We oughtta do it. You know they talk about freedom of speech and I’m a big believer of freedom of speech, but that’s desecration, that’s a terrible thing they do.”
Trump calls on senators to pass legislation criminalizing burning the flag with one year in prison. pic.twitter.com/CLLCN3nopF
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) June 21, 2020
The audience cheered after Trump spoke.
Here’s another video of that part of his speech from NowThis.
Pres. Trump said there should be legislation that imprisons people who burn the U.S. flag for one year. The president said he believes in freedom of speech but flag burning is a ‘terrible thing.’ pic.twitter.com/S32FH1elCd
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 21, 2020
People are already tweeting about the moment.
JUST NOW: President Trump, who complains about his freedom of speech being suppressed, says there should be legislation stating that “if someone wants to burn the American flag they go to jail for one year.”
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) June 21, 2020
The original Bush tried this. In 1990 #SCOTUS voted burning the flag was “allowable expressive conduct.” Bush tried to make it a Constitutional Amendment. Congress didn’t bite. He failed.
Trump can’t even come up with an original idea.
— LeiaRx (@LeiaRx) June 21, 2020
Trump made his suggestion to Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford of Oklahoma. They are both Republicans.
President Donald Trump suggests Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford pass legislation overturning a SCOTUS decision that protected burning the flag as free speech, telling supporters in Tulsa, "I believe in freedom of speech. But that’s desecration.” pic.twitter.com/H1eJ6gOahY
— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) June 21, 2020
The Rally’s Turnout Was Smaller Than Expected
The rally already generated controversy because it’s not requiring any social distancing or masks. Some experts were concerned, since the coronavirus may spread better during indoor events, such as the rally. In fact, Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx had advised Trump against holding the rally, The Hill reported. The BOK Center (Bank of Oklahoma Center) has a seating capacity of about 19,199 for a central stage setup. But fewer than that showed up for the rally tonight, and the outdoor overflow space had to be shut down.
Courtney Subramanian of USA Today tweeted that the campaign announced outdoor speeches were canceled.
— Courtney Subramanian (@cmsub) June 20, 2020
The overflow area was mostly empty. This is rare for a Trump rally. Vice President Mike Pence was supposed to speak, but that speech was canceled.
This is what overflow looks like at the Trump rally in Tulsa right now. Pence is scheduled to speak out here in about 10 minutes. People still streaming in but not nearly the number the campaign said they were expecting. pic.twitter.com/hbypfviOxv
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) June 20, 2020
In this video below from Mike Simons of Tulsa World, you can see people entering the rally when the barricades were opened. It appears attendees (at least in these videos and photos) weren’t wearing masks or social distancing while standing in line and getting ready to enter the venue.
— Mike Simons (@mikesimonsphoto) June 20, 2020
At a different moment during the rally, Trump addressed the videos and coverage of his walking down a ramp during his West Point speech.
LMAOOOOO Trump just roasted the media for their coverage of him walking down a ramp and then renacted it pic.twitter.com/c9xG3Xfy1i
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) June 21, 2020
Although the outdoor portion of the rally was canceled, the indoor event was still taking place and the lower section of the venue is mostly filled.
Earlier in the day, before the rally began, Eric Trump shared a photo about the rally with a QAnon reference that he later deleted. You can see the photo here.
This was Trump’s first rally since the COVID-19 shutdowns.
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