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John Jay LaValle, Suffolk GOP chief, says he misspoke on CNN

John Jay LaValle is seen in this photo

John Jay LaValle is seen in this photo from Nov. 3, 2015. Credit: Daniel Goodrich

Suffolk Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle said Wednesday on CNN that he’s seen American flags burned at Hillary Clinton rallies, though when pressed by the host he couldn’t name any instances.

Later, LaValle said he misspoke.

LaValle, identified by the cable news channel as a surrogate for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, was asked about a Trump tweet that said protesters outside his rally in New Mexico Tuesday night were “thugs.” Protesters lit fires and threw rocks outside the rally in Albuquerque.

LaValle said, “When I go to a Donald Trump rally I see the American flags raised. When I go to a Hillary Clinton rally, I see people burning American flags and waving Mexican flags.”

The host asked, “When did you see a flag burned at a Hillary Clinton rally?”

LaValle said of Clinton: “She certainly advocates for people — they call it freedom of expression. I’ve watched CNN, I’ve watched Fox, I’ve seen all the networks show these protesters”

The CNN host said, “I know of no Hillary Clinton rally where a flag is burned. I just want to put that out there.”

LaValle told Newsday that he “misspoke” and intended to say that he had seen the American flag being burned by Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters outside Trump rallies. He said he has seen those pictures online.

At Trump’s appearance at the California Republican Convention in Burlingame on April 29, protesters blocked the main entrance and burned Trump’s effigy and an American flag.

Some conservative websites posted stories Wednesday saying an American flag was burned Tuesday night outside the Trump rally in Albuquerque.

A story about the protest later posted a correction that said “the item set ablaze was in fact a Trump campaign banner which included red and white stripes.”

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