- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 9, 2021

“The View” co-host Sunny Hostin said Wednesday that she feels “threatened” when she sees American flags juxtaposed with flags supporting former President Donald Trump, saying the patriotic symbol has taken on a new meaning to people of color like herself.

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg had broached the American flag topic after The New York Times‘ Mara Gay received a wave of criticism Tuesday for saying dozens of American flags flying on Long Island during the anniversary of D-Day left her “really disturbed.”

“For many, the flag has been a symbol of freedom,” Ms. Goldberg said. “Has it taken another meaning, Sunny?”

“Yes, it has,” Ms. Hostin responded. “And I’m so surprised, actually, that she is receiving this kind of backlash. … When someone of color, a Black woman, is telling you her feelings, people need to listen, and not repudiate it and not say, ‘Well, that can’t be true.’ Because you have, in many respects, the former, disgraced, twice-impeached, one-term president to thank for politicizing the American flag.”

Ms. Hostin said she recently took a family trip to the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina when she grew “scared” and “afraid” when she saw U.S. flags flying alongside Confederate flags. She said the imagery sent a clear message: “You don’t belong here, we belong here.”

“So yes, when I drive into a neighborhood and it’s not July 4th and I’m not in a predominantly military household neighborhood and there are flags, Americans flags, everywhere alongside Trump flags, alongside flags with stars in a circle, I feel threatened because the message is very clear: It’s a message of White supremacy, it’s a message of racism, and it’s a message of ‘their country, not my country.’ And I don’t understand why that would receive backlash,” Ms. Hostin said. 

Ms. Gay, a member of The New York Times‘ editorial board, said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Trump supporters “see Americanness as the same as one with whiteness” and refuse to “share the democracy with others.

“I was on Long Island this weekend, visiting a really dear friend,” she said. “I was really disturbed. I saw, you know, dozens and dozens of pickup trucks with you know, expletives against Joe Biden on the back of them, Trump flags, and in some cases, just dozens of American flags, which you know is also just disturbing, because essentially the message was clear, this is my country. This is not your country. I own this.”

The Times’ PR team tweeted a statement late Tuesday saying Ms. Gay’s comments had been “irresponsibly taken out of context.

“Her argument was that Trump and many of his supporters have politicized the American flag. The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith,” the paper said.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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