“New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay's comments on MSNBC have been irresponsibly taken out of context. She argued that Trump and many of his followers have politicized the American flag. The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith,” the New York Times’s Twitter account for its communications team announced Tuesday.
The statement appears after Mara Gay joined MSNBC earlier on Tuesday and scrutinized Trump followers.
"I was on Long Island this weekend visiting a really dear friend, and I was really disturbed. I saw, you know, dozens and dozens of pickup trucks with explicatives [sic] against Joe Biden on the back of them, Trump flags, and, in some cases, just dozens of American flags, which is also just disturbing … Essentially, the message was clear ... 'This is my country. This is not your country. I own this,'" Gay stated.
The remark came amid a discussion with MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski regarding the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
"The reality is here that we have a large percentage of the American population — I don’t know how big it is, but we have tens of millions of Trump voters who continue to believe that their rights as citizens are under threat by simple virtue of having to share the democracy with others," Gay stated.
"I think that as long as they see American-ness as the same as one with whiteness, this is going to continue," Gay added during the segment.
The comments drew pushback on social media, and commenters also attacked the New York Times for defending the comments.
“Spin away — we heard her loud and clear,” journalist Megyn Kelly tweeted in response to the New York Times.
"This would be a good point if she said anything remotely close to this but of course SHE DIDN’T," tweeted Donald Trump Jr.
"That actually wasn't her argument. What's even worse is that this fraudulent defense - filled with ad hominem attacks - doesn't even help her. Pathetic," said Chris Barron in a follow-up tweet.
Gay has further returned to the criticisms she's got over her comments, tweeting: "I see I’m being trolled with the American flag this morning. Trolling a Black journalist with the American flag is not the same as some people think it is."