Barney Frank was always known for saying what was on his mind.
That hasn’t changed.
The retired US congressman, who is openly gay, shocked MSNBC viewers this week while discussing flag burning in the US and the late US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The staunchly conservative Scalia had defended flag burning as legal – something President-Elect Donald Trump said this week should result in jail or a loss in citizenship.
Said Frank on Hardball: ‘Scalia wrote the opinion, he was very strongly on the other side of [flag burning], and [Trump] cited Scalia as his favorite justice. I think there was a pronunciation problem there. You know, Scalia was actually the leading advocate of fag burning, not flag burning.’
Host Chris Matthews laughed but said: ‘That’s not funny.’
The show’s other two guests appeared to wince.
Scalia died earlier this year and his seat on the court remains vacant. The late justice was staunchly against same-sex marriage in his opinions.
Frank, 76, retired from the US House of Representatives in 2013 after 32 years in office.
He married long-time partner Jim Ready on 7 July 2012 – six months before his retirement.
He was the first openly gay US congressman to get legally married. A documentary about Frank called Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank premiered in 2014 at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival.