Two U.S. Representatives from Illinois are stepping up to defend the Betsy Ross flag after recent controversy has associated it with hate groups.

Southern Illinois Representative Mike Bost, along with conservative suburban Chicago Democrat Dan Lipinski, plan to sponsor a resolution in support of the Betsy Ross flag. 

The flag has been used in white supremacist propaganda, which prompted former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to pressure Nike to pull a shoe that featured the flag on them.

Bost says the flag should mean more than that in terms of American history and his resolution will “send a clear message that we, the United States, believe that the symbol that is our first flag, and Betsy Ross who is credited with making that first flag, are both symbols of freedom, democracy and everything that’s good about this nation,” he said in a video posted to Facebook Tuesday.

Although white supremacists have used the flag in propaganda, the Anti-Defamation League doesn’t consider the flag a hate symbol.

Bost said the flag wasn't criticized when it hung over presidential inaugurations.

“Many presidents throughout history and recently, Bill Clinton, [George W.] Bush, as well as Barack Obama stood with that flag when being sworn in,” he said. 

Kaepernick gained notoriety for kneeling during the national anthem at football games to protest racial injustice.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.