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John McCain: There ‘should be some punishment’ for burning American flag

(AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters Tuesday that he feels there should be some sort of punishment for those who burn the American flag.

“I do not approve of burning the flag,” told CNN. “I think there should be some punishment, but, right now, the Supreme Court decision is that people are free to express themselves that way.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 in Texas v. Johnson that, while controversial, burning the flag as an act of protest is protected by the First Amendment and is considered free speech.

McCain — who was kept as a prisoner of war with a soldier who was punished for repeatedly creating a makeshift flag — said he think there’s a better way to go about making a point.

“I think there’s other ways for people to express their views rather than burning a flag that so many Americans fought and died for,” he said.

McCain wasn’t alone in his sentiments. Earlier Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that he believes those who burn the flag should face consequences.

While McCain clearly agreed with the sentiment behind Trump’s tweet, he remained vague when it came to his idea of punishment and said he would not comment on the president-elect’s words.

“We have all kinds of challenges. My time is devoted to trying to make sure this nation is secure, not to comment on every comment of Mr. Trump’s.”

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