Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that would ban U.S. embassies from flying flags or banners with an overtly political message on the heels of the Biden administration authorizing American diplomatic missions to fly “Black Lives Matter” flags late last month on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death.
The group, led by Rep. Nicole Mallitotakis (R-N.Y.), introduced the “Stars and Stripes Act of 2021,” which directs the secretary of state to prohibit “inherently political flags” at U.S. embassies and consulates.
‘‘The Secretary of State shall prohibit the display of any flag or banner at any diplomatic or consular post, with the exception of the following flags: (1) The flag of the United States. (2) The flag of the country where the diplomatic or consular post is located. (3) The flag of a State, territory, or possession of the United States. (4) A departmental or secretarial flag. (5) The flag of an Armed Force. (6) A flag designed to honor persons who are classified as prisoners of war or missing-in-action,” the measure notes, according to TownHall.
Today I introduced the Stars & Stripes Act of 2021, legislation that would reverse @SecBlinken's directive allowing political & non-government flags to fly above embassies. Our flag is a beacon of freedom & hope – it should be the ONLY flag flown above our embassies overseas! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/KG9k91VhIs
— Office of Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (@RepMalliotakis) May 28, 2021
“It is inappropriate for President Biden and Secretary Blinken to authorize and encourage the display of inherently political flags that are in no way affiliated with the U.S. Government over American embassies overseas,” said Malliotakis in a statement.
“The American flag is a beacon of freedom and hope for oppressed peoples around the world; it should be the primary flag flown above our embassies and that is what my legislation seeks to accomplish,” she added, “The Administration’s directive is an insult to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our flag and our nation – especially as we head into Memorial Day weekend – and it is absolutely ridiculous that legislation is needed to correct this issue.”
GOP co-sponsors of the legislation include Malliotakis’ GOP New York colleague and House Republican Conference Chair, Elise Stefanik.
“Our beautiful American flag should fly over our U.S. embassies around the world – not the flag of a political organization founded by Marxists,” Stefanik noted.”I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation introduced by my colleague and friend Congresswoman Malliotakis.”
According to Malliotakis, Black Lives Matter, as an organization, has promoted several political positions such as showing support for convicting and banning former President Donald Trump from holding office as well as expelling from Congress GOP members who voted against certifying the election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona earlier this year.
Also, her office said that BLM supported banning Trump permanently from social media, as well as defunding police while speaking out against measures calling for a crackdown on domestic terrorism.
“The death of George Floyd opened important discussions surrounding police reform in the United States. However, using United States resources to display a non-government organization flag over United States embassies is not permissible,” added Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss. “I encourage every American to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech and to continue civil dialogue around this matter.
“However, these discussions should not be aired out on an international stage,” Guest added. “Our country’s resources should be used to highlight our unity, not our political divisions.”
“The White House may think the American flag is just another banner to be displayed or replaced in foreign capitals when the mood strikes,” Rep. Darrell Issa of California added.
“But this is more than untrue. It’s an emphatic misunderstanding of what this nation represents in every corner of the globe,” Issa continued. “And it fails to appreciate how our country’s symbols have sustained the hopes of the world in the darkest of hours.
“This legislation may be necessary, but even more important is for the Biden Administration to take stock of America’s exceptionalism,” he noted further.
“The American flag is a physical representation of our nation’s history and intrinsic principles,” Texas Rep. Pete Sessions said. “It is a symbol of hope and opportunity. The only flag that should characterize the United States of America at our embassies overseas is Old Glory. Political flags have no place in exemplifying our nation abroad.”
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