Wearing a “Make America Great Again” one-piece Halloween costume with flag-like wings and a fanny pack, Tomi Lahren, a 25-year-old Fox News commentator, aspired to be “American AF.”
But when Lahren shared a photo of herself Sunday on Instagram as a conservative superhero, social media users responded saying that she’s violating the American flag, which she has accused protesting NFL players of doing.
“Oh LA get ready to find your safe spaces!” she wrote. “What am I? Well if you’re a conservative, I’m American AF. If you’re a lib, I’m ‘offensive.’ Let’s go.”
The U.S. Code for “Respect for flag” bans its use as “apparel, bedding or drapery.” And the law also states, “No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.”
Many Twitter users were quick to point that out:
— Tennesseine (@Tennesseine) October 29, 2017
Not against US Code: Kneeling during the National Anthem
IS against US Code: Wearing the flag as clothing
— Berserkir Joe (@barefootboomer) October 29, 2017
In response, Lahren tweeted a paragraph from the American Legion website that says, “Unless an article of clothing is made from an actual United States flag, there is no breach of flag etiquette whatsoever.”
But whether or not the TV pundit’s costume is a violation of the American flag code is not really the point. Lahren, who works with Great America Alliance, an advocacy organization that supports President Donald Trump, continues the narrative of many his supporters of what a “real patriot” looks like.
She’s asserting that she and her ilk love the country more than Black NFL players who chose to have their voices heard, for example.
As social media users point out, for more than a year, Lahren, in following Trump’s lead, has been outspoken against former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players taking a knee to protest police brutality.
“It started with Colin Kaepernick,” Lahren said on “Fox and Friends” Oct. 18. “Now it has spread. It has infected the league. So I would like to ask these players: What exactly are you kneeling for? And why have you chosen the flag and the anthem to do it?”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 18, 2017
Most of the NFL’s Houston Texans team knelt in protest as the national anthem was played for Sunday’s game in Seattle in response to team owner Bob McNair’s remarks.
“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” McNair was quoted as saying during a recent meeting with league executives and owners, exhorting them to consider how the kneeling protests could hurt the NFL’s bottom line.
An owner calls league players, who are predominantly Black, “inmates,” yet it’s unpatriotic for players to quietly protest by taking a knee?
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) October 30, 2017
To continue to push the anti-patriotic narrative of protesting NFL players, Lahren recently invited rapper and entrepreneur Master P for an interview, published on Fox’s website on Monday, to talk about the topic.
“I want to know about the kneeling, and I want to know what you think about the kneeling for the national anthem,” she said to Percy “Master P” Miller.
“I think it’s spread beyond the NFL, but it got its start with Colin Kaepernick.”
Miller said that Kaepernick and other NFL players are expressing their opinion but that the players have to answer to the team owners.
“The only way I feel what they believe in is really going to change is through ownership,” he said.
The entrepreneur is currently the president of the Global Mixed Gender Basketball league, and owner of the hometown team, the New Orleans Gators.
Addressing Lahren’s sentiment that Kaepernick and other protesting players are disrespecting the flag, Master P poked holes in the pundit’s narrative of what it means to be patriotic.
“We love America,” he said. “We love the flag. This is one of the greatest countries in the world.
“This is the land of free expression. Freedom of speech. So I don’t get offended by [the protests] either way. Whether who is right or wrong is not my opinion.
“I can truly respect that [Kaepernick] truly believed in something and he lost his job for what he believed in. He should still be in the NFL right now.”
Miller said Kaepernick did not protest for attention or for money.
“He has turned into a leader for this culture, whether people like it or not,” he said.