11/30/2016 05:13 pm ET

Barney Frank Slams Antonin Scalia As A 'Fag Burning' Advocate

“I think there was a pronunciation problem.”

Ex-congressman Barney Frank left an MSNBC panel speechless when he made an eyebrow-raising claim about late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

The former Massachusetts representative, who is openly gay, appeared on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” Tuesday to discuss President-elect Donald Trump. While talking about Trump’s controversial tweets denouncing flag burning, Frank proclaimed that the President-elect has “clearly got problems,” as seen in the clip above. 

The discussion eventually turned to Trump’s professed admiration for Scalia, who was an outspoken opponent of LGBTQ rights, including marriage equality, during his tenure. The former Supreme Court justice, who died in February, also argued in favor of the destruction of the American flag being protected by the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. 

Noting that Scalia would “strongly” disapprove of Trump’s stance on burning the flag, Frank noted, “I think there was a pronunciation problem.” 

“You know, Scalia was actually the leading advocate of fag burning, not flag burning,” Frank added, “and I think that’s where he got himself a little confused.” Matthews and the rest of the panel seemed tongue-tied at first, then responded with uncomfortable laughter and changed the subject. 

Still, Frank’s eyebrow-raising claim will come as little surprise to those familiar with the former rep’s history.  When then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey claimed he’d accidentally introduced the rep as “Barney Fag” because he had “trouble with alliteration” in 1995, Frank wasn’t having any of it. “I rule out that it was an innocent mispronunciation,” he told The New York Times. “I turned to my own expert, my mother, who reports that in 59 years of marriage, no one ever introduced her as Elsie Fag.”



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