Trump on Private Display of Confederate Flag: ‘Like It, Don’t Like It, It’s Freedom of Speech’

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended Americans displaying the Confederate flag in an interview with CBS News.

“Well, people love it and I don’t view — I know people that like the Confederate flag, and they’re not thinking about slavery,” Trump said in an interview with CBS investigative reporter Catherine Herridge.

Trump discussed NASCAR’s recent decision to ban the display of Confederate flag at races: “I look at NASCAR — you go to NASCAR, you had those flags all over the place,” he said. “They stopped it.”

Herridge also asked if President Trump would be comfortable with his supporters displaying the flag at his rallies.

“You know, it depends on what your definition is. But I am comfortable with freedom of speech. It’s very simple,” he said.

“I just think it’s freedom of speech, whether it’s freedom of speech, whether it’s Confederate flags or Black Lives Matter or anything else you want to talk about,” he said. “It’s freedom of speech.”

In 2015, Trump said he supported the effort to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s capitol building after white supremacist Dylann Roof shot and killed nine black Americans worshiping at a church in Charleston.

“I would take it down, yes,” he said, when asked about the issue. “I think they should put it in a museum and respect whatever it is you have to respect.”

Then-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley led the effort to remove the flag from the state capitol grounds.

“I think the more important part is it should have never been there,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon in 2015. “These grounds are a place that everybody should feel a part of. What I realized now more than ever is people were driving by and felt hurt and pain. No one should feel pain.”

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