Trump calls Confederate flag ‘freedom of speech,’ gives heated response on police brutality
President Trump said Saturday that the Confederate flag should be protected under the First Amendment and treated as freedom of speech, despite the intense backlash surrounding the symbol in recent months.
Trump was being interviewed at the White House by CBS News’ Catherine Herridge, who asked the commander-in-chief about comments he made in 2015, with regard to the Confederate flag being featured in museums.
“All I say is freedom of speech, it’s very simple,” he replied. “My attitude is freedom of speech. Very strong views on the Confederate flag. With me, it’s freedom of speech. Very simple. Like it, don’t like it, it’s freedom of speech.”
Herridge then asked the president if he would be comfortable with his supporters displaying the flag at events and he continued to defer to the protection of the First Amendment.
“It depends on what your definition is,” he said. “But I am comfortable with freedom of speech. It’s very simple.”
Herridge followed up on the question, again, to ask Trump if he was aware of why the flag is offensive to some people and he responded by comparing it to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I know people that like the Confederate flag and they’re not thinking about slavery,” he explained. “Look at NASCAR — You go to NASCAR, you had those flags all over the place. They stopped it. I just think it’s freedom of speech. Whether it’s Confederate flags or Black Lives Matter, or anything else you want to talk about, it’s freedom of speech.”
When asked about the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, and the killing of Black Americans by law enforcement, Trump said Americans of all backgrounds — including White people — have been victims of police brutality and abuse.
“And so are White people. So are White people,” he responded. “What a terrible question to ask. So are White people. More White people, by the way. More White people.”
Herridge later praised the president on air following the interview for answering the network’s questions directly and with little hesitation.
“To the president’s credit, we asked several very direct questions of him and he answered all of our questions,” she added.