Sampling of Mainstream Media Coverage of the July 4 Flag‑burning in Front of the White House



There was widespread coverage of the July 4 flag-burning in front of the White House in the U.S. and international mainstream media. This include major media like USA Today and CNN and in large cities like New York and Washington, DC as well as spots in local media in smaller cities. Below are excerpts from some of the coverage in the mainstream media. Some reports, like from the AP wire service and, were carried by various national and local media outlets.

USA Today

The burning of a flag in front of the White House led to a scuffle between protesters and President Donald Trump supporters during Independence Day celebrations in the nation's capital.

Gregory Lee Johnson, who had been the lead plaintiff in the 1984 Supreme Court protecting flag-burning as a First Amendment expression of speech, had burned a flag as part of a demonstration. Johnson was one of two people arrested after a confrontation took place.

Some members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, an American communist party, had formed a cordon of about a dozen people around Johnson as he ignited the flag, chanting "America was never great." Trump supporters, some wearing hats emblazoned with Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan, charged the circle, causing the flag burners to topple over. With some Revolutionary Communist group members on the ground, a man wearing a red, sleeveless "Make America Great Again" shirt picked up the flag and attempted to stamp out the fire. Some of the counter-protesters seen in the tussle were wearing hats and shirts that identified themselves as members of the Proud Boys, a far-right organization whose members describe themselves as "western chauvinists."

“I am going to D.C. on the Fourth of July and I’m going to burn the flag in protest (of his) whole fascist agenda,” Johnson had told USA TODAY earlier this week…

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Leftist protesters burned an American flag outside the White House on Thursday and then clashed with supporters of President Donald Trump, including the far-right Proud Boys group, not long before Trump took the stage for his "Salute to America."…

Led by activist Joey Johnson, a group from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, linked arms and set an American flag on fire outside as they chanted, "America was never great."…

In a news release before the event, Johnson said he was leading the protest because "I'm going to be speaking to the people of the world letting them know that there are people inside the borders of this country who stand with the people of the world."…

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NBC San Diego Channel 7, New York Channel 4, and other local NBC stations

…The Revolutionary Communist Party said the two flags successfully burned under the slogan “Imagine A World Without America.” In a press release, the group said the flag-burning was in protest of Trump’s policies on migrant detention facilities and climate change, as well as the July Fourth events in Washington.

Johnson, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, described his plans to burn the flag to the Washington Post. “When I see that flag burn, I’m not only thinking of the children who are starved and bombed by the U.S. in Yemen, or the children who are torn from their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border,” Johnson told the Washington Post. “This is the workings of a system that the U.S. dominates … built on the plunder of literally billions of people around the world.”

The demonstration near the White House is part of the organization’s “National Get Organized For An Actual Revolution Tour,” during which the organizers declared the American flag, “so soaked in the blood of ‘barbarity and hypocrisy’ will burn in symbolic places around this country,” according to a press release.

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Washington Examiner

…The Secret Service detained flag-burning activist Gregory "Joey" Johnson and at least two allies in the aftermath. The agency says two men have been charged. Johnson won a 1989 Supreme Court case that invalidated state laws banning flag burning. Earlier this year, he won a $225,000 settlement from Cleveland, Ohio, as a result of his arrest for burning a flag at the 2016 Republican convention…

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New York Times (which ran an AP wire service report along with a Reuters pic of flag being burned in front of the White House)

…The U.S. Secret Service says two people were arrested during a Fourth of July flag-burning incident on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. The arrests were made about two hours before President Donald Trump paid tribute to the U.S. military during a speech at the Lincoln Memorial…

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The biggest visible fracas happened outside the White House about an hour before the Salute to America event. A permitted flag burning protest was disrupted by the Proud Boys, a conservative group known for its violent interactions at large public gatherings, and other pro-Trump folks. The Secret Service said that its officers arrested two people… Both of the arrestees were associated with the flag burning protest, and one of them was the man who acquired the permit, Gregory Lee “Joey” Johnson. Johnson was the plaintiff in the 1987 Supreme Court case that ruled flag burning was a constitutional right. Meanwhile, video footage shows Proud Boys getting a police escort to a nearby bar. This whole event may serve as a preview for the far-right rally slated for this Saturday, which will include prominent Proud Boys.

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Tweet from Reuters reporter

…A group of protesters linked arms after the flag burning and chanted “America was never great” in the video, a reference to Trump’s 2016 presidential slogan “Make America Great Again.”…

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Daily Mail (UK)

Two people were arrested during a flag burning protest before Donald Trump's Fourth of July showpiece in Washington yesterday. Far-left activist Gregory Lee 'Joey Johnson' was led away in handcuffs during the protest outside the White House two hours before the president's 'Salute to America' celebration…

Johnson is a longtime member of the Revolutionary Communist Party – also known as RevCom – which organized Thursday's protest outside of the White House, where the group chanted: 'Imagine A World Without America. Fight For A World Without America!' RevCom tweeted a photo of its members standing around a flag engulfed in a ball of flames, writing: 'Gregory Joey Johnson, of Texas v. Johnson which established the right to burn the flag, was arrested today in front of White House for burning the U.S. flag.' 

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Yahoo! News (

WJZ CBS TV, Baltimore



WUSA Channel 9, Washington, DC

It was a moment of fire and fury, feet from White House grounds, with President Trump the object of the flag-burner’s ire. Protesters in Lafayette Square called and responded, “Fight for a world – without America,” as thousands descended on the District for Fourth of July celebrations. In an instant, flames and accelerant disintegrated one American flag, then another... [Gregory Joey Johnson] vehemently opposes an overly-militaristic America. And if the president was prepared to make a statement Thursday, so was he. “In the face of a display of military might by the fascist in chief, Donald Trump, the Revolutionary Communists, the Revolution Club went out there and burned American flags,” Mr. Johnson said...

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Trump fans in violent clashes with communists after American flag burned outside White House during 4th of July celebrations

Two people have been arrested after a violent clash between Trump supporters and a group of communists following a flag burning in front of the White House yesterday.

Protesters wearing t-shirts of Bob Avakian, chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA, burned the American flag while chanting “America was never great” before fighting with counter-protesters wearing MAGA hats, according to USA Today.

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