A flag burns in Cleveland, and guns are carried openly

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Exercising his First Amendment right, but not wise fire safety practices, a protester named Gregory Johnson caught his pants on fire when he burned a flag outside the Quicken Loans Arena. A cop tried to put it out, and was assaulted.

USA Today reports that Johnson has done this before, at the Republican convention in Dallas in 1984. That led to Texas v. Johnson, a 1989 decision holding that flag burning is a First Amendment right. Antonin Scalia, often praised in Cleveland convention speeches, was one of five votes declaring that flag burning is protected speech.

Meanwhile, Roger Ailes was headed out at Fox, guns were openly carried on the streets of Cleveland, and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen put politics in perspective.

Giving praise

Aficionados of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” recall Omarosa Onee Manigault, the dynamic, opinionated and religious contestant who got fired but kept returning.

Followers of Trump’s presidential campaign know her as the campaign’s liaison to African Americans. In that role, she traveled to the Kalahari resort in Sandusky, to speak to the California delegation to the Republican National Convention, which is in Cleveland, 60 miles away.

She opened her talk with a “praise the Lord,” assured the crowd that Trump’s hair is real and said that he kept inviting her back to “The Apprentice” because, as he’d say: “We make great television together.”

Omarosa said it pains her when people call Trump a racist and a divider; he’s not. She’s facing some of that vitriol, too. She identifies herself as “Servant Leader at The Historical Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church” in Los Angeles. On that church’s website, a fellow named Howard Graham posted a message: “What kind of church would ordain a woman of Omarosa’s character to be an associate pastor?”

Take this job

Based on what Ohio Gov. John Kasich says, Mike Pence could become the most powerful vice president in history, or at least since Dick Cheney, if Donald Trump wins in November.

Pence, the governor of Indiana, could end up in charge of all domestic and foreign policy. At least that was the deal that Kasich turned down, according to The New York Times and CNN.

We’ve suspected that Trump could get bored being president and hand the job to his vice president. But the idea that he would do that from the start is a different kind of scary.

Our take

Editorial: No political figure besides, maybe, Ronald Reagan has had more to do with the rise of the right in this country than Roger Ailes.

Erika D. Smith: Powerful white men and women insisting to a room of mostly white men and women that America is fair and equal comes across as a stubborn, condescending and self-interested refusal to acknowledge the reality that so many Americans live every day.

Dan Morain: In Donald Trump’s America, it would be your right to carry a fully loaded AR-15-style assault rifle openly.

McClatchy DC: Nigel Farage, the architect of the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote, tells McClatchy’s Steve “Buzz” Thomma that he wouldn’t vote for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “if you paid me.”

Marcos Breton: The high cost of cleaning the dirty laundry of Sheriff Scott Jones’ department.

Joe Mathews, among our regular freelancers: What is the state of California? Depends whom you listen to.

Alvar Escriva-Bou, Ellen Hanak and Jay Lund’s Soapbox: California needs better accounting of groundwater.

Their take

Stockton Record: On Jerry Brown’s decision to hire Bruce Babbitt to help fix California WaterFix. Twin tunnels foes are well-versed on taking on any and all threats to the estuary.

San Jose Mercury News: After another year of disappointing investment returns, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System finds itself facing record debt of about $139 billion.

Debra J. Saunders of The San Francisco Chronicle: More conservatives will leave Twitter, and more liberals will think that everyone agrees with them because their views are reinforced on the Twitter loop.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Time for Donald Trump to retire the Iraq War as talking point.

Taylor Batten of the Charlotte Observer: Here are five things Trump can do to fly out of Cleveland on a high note. If he fails on several of these, he’ll be digging himself a hole.

Jonah Goldberg of The National Review: What the cameras can’t show is the discontent represented by those who refused to attend in the first place – nor the grumbling distress deep in the bowels of the Grand Old Party.

Syndicates’ take

Dana Milbank: Donald Trump’s self-worship over sound judgment.

Thomas L. Friedman: Donald Trump and the sultan.

Leonard Pitts Jr.: Cop killers serve no cause.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: Donald Trump takes GOP to the lunatic fringe.

Tweet of the day

Kristin Olsen@KristinOlsenCA: “Cooking for a family member with terminal cancer changes perspective in many different ways. Sometimes life on earth really sucks.”