George Takei Responds to Donald Trump's Flag Burning Tweet

November 29th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Actor George Takei responded to President-elect Donald Trump's call to punish individuals who burn the American flag on Tuesday. Takei recalled pledging allegiance to the flag during his time in a Japanese internment camp, and though he said he'd never burn the flag himself, he'd "die to protect the right to do so."

The tweet came hours after Trump wrote that flag burners ought to face jail time or lose their citizenship on Tuesday.

Trump's tweet has been widely condemned, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that laws prohibiting the desecration of American flags were unconstitutional. In a 5-4 ruling, the court determined that burning the flag qualified as an expression of free speech, protected under the First Amendment.

"Mr. Trump, one of your sacred duties as President will be to uphold the Constitution," Takei wrote in a follow up tweet. "That means honoring and protecting free speech."

This is not the first time Takei has challenged Trump. 

The actor criticized Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, arguing that his words dehumanized minorities, and that such language is what led to his family being placed in an internment camp during World War II. 

"When Trump today says Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers, it is his way of similarly dehumanizing whole groups, so that he can set his plans in motion," Takei said in July.