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Tomi Lahren Courts Controversy With “Patriotic” Costume

Tomi Lahren’s Halloween costume turned into a star-spangled national controversy this week, as critics say she disrespected the flag law by wearing a flag as a set of wings.

Lahren, a conservative pundit famous for criticizing the “Take a Knee” movement, posted an Instagram picture of herself in costume, telling critics to “find your safe spaces.” The costume featured a “Make America Great Again” bodysuit, a flagged fanny pack, and another American flag draped across her shoulders (in case you missed it the first time).

While some were confused by what Lahren’s costume was meant to be, others claimed that Lahren was dressed as The Selective Patriotism Fairy. They cited American flag law, which states that “the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery,” and that “no part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.” While the penalty for doing so is not legally enforced, many Americans see flag law violations as a sign of disrespect

The backlash against Lahren’s so-called sartorial slip-up is particularly strong because she has repeatedly criticized NFL athletes for kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police racism. In a recent speech, she called the protest a “temper tantrum,” and said that she’d be happy to remind protesters “what that flag and that anthem mean.” But, in the wake of her Halloween costume, critics are wondering what Lahren thinks the meaning of the flag is.

Lahren came to her own defense on Twitter, calling her critics “snowflakes,” and citing the American Legion website, which states that wearing flag-based clothing isn’t a violation of flag law unless it’s made from the actual flag.

Opinions differ widely as to whether or not wearing flag-based clothing is a breach of the law, as the law itself is not clearly worded. It was also unclear whether Lahren’s costume violated  the prohibition against using the flag as a “design of items of temporary use.”

In the days since the flag controversy, the world has moved on and Lahren has moved back to more traditional fare: calling on politicians to bar Muslims from entering the US. Opinions remain divided on whether or not Lahren disrespected the flag by wearing it around her shoulders; the only part of her outfit considered objectively offensive was the fanny pack.

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