While millions of Americans face months of utter misery and health crises without electric power or reliable supplies of fresh water, President Trump focuses his (and the media’s) attention on what’s really important: African-American professional athletes who kneel in protest during the National Anthem.
Speaking Friday at a rally for a candidate for US Senate from Alabama in a Republican primary (whom he didn’t do any favors), Trump rambled for an hour-and-a-half on a number of topics, including this:
President Trump issued a profane call to NFL team owners to fire players who engage in peaceful political protest on the field while speaking Friday night at an Alabama rally for Sen. Luther Strange (R). “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?'” Trump asked his audience. “Out. He’s fired. He’s fired.” The rally crowd responded with cheers.
“You know what’s hurting the game?” the president continued. “When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem.” Trump encouraged his supporters to walk out of the stadium in counter-protest should they ever observe an NFL player’s protest in person.
Trump also withdrew an invitation to the White House to the National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors after one player said he wouldn’t be going.
Since then Trump has taken his supposedly valuable time to tweet his outrage and call on fans to react accordingly.
Eight of Trump's last 12 tweets have been about NFL/NBA/sports teams. None have been about Puerto Rico.
— Jimmy Geurts (@JimmyGeurts) September 24, 2017
And so today, National Football League players, black and white, who hadn’t previously done so are “taking a knee” or locking arms in solidarity with those who have. This may be precisely what Trump intended (red meat for his “base”), but it’s hard to see anything remotely “Presidential” about it.
Update: Trump approves of arm-locking, even though it’s a show of defiance aimed at him.
Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
And, as is often the case with our president, it’s all about ratings.