MSNBC contributor and New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay said the sight of “dozens of American flags” flown on trucks in Long Island, New York, over the weekend was “disturbing.”
“I was on Long Island this weekend visiting a really dear friend, and I was really disturbed. I saw, you know, dozens and dozens of pickup trucks with expletives against Joe Biden on the back of them, Trump flags, and in some cases just dozens of American flags, which is also just disturbing.”
Gay asserted that the message being sent by the Trump supporters was clear: “This is my country. This is not your country. I own this.”
“The reality is here that we have a large percentage of the American population — I don’t know how big it is, but we have tens of millions of Trump voters who continue to believe that their rights as citizens are under threat by simple virtue of having to share the democracy with others,” Gay noted when host Mika Brzezinski said the Jan. 6 Capitol storming should be investigated.
“I think that as long as they see Americanness as the same as one with Whiteness, this is going to continue,” Gay continued, claiming that Americans must address “Whiteness,” but a “large percentage of Americans” don’t grasp the threat it poses.
“That is the real concern. Because, you know, the Trump voters who are not going to get onboard with democracy, they’re a minority. You can marginalize them, long-term. But if we don’t take the threat seriously, then I think we’re all in really bad shape,” she said.
The New York Times later defended Gay’s comments, claiming on Twitter that her remarks were taken out of context.
“New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay’s comments on MSNBC have been irresponsibly taken out of context,” the Times Communications team tweeted. “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.”
Gay’s comments and the Times’ subsequent defense were slammed by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who mocked the news outlet’s perspective on Twitter.
“President Trump loves our flag. Trump supporters love our flag. #NY21 loves our flag. Americans love our flag,” she wrote. “And yet the @nytimes is in full meltdown mode because they are ‘disturbed’ by seeing Americans fly American flags. This is today’s biased media folks!”