Donald Trump has said that NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem are showing disrespect to U.S. service members who fought for the flag, but opponents say Trump is doing just that in failing to say anything publicly about four service members who were killed in combat last week.
Trump sparked controversy late last month when he called for NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem to be fired, leading to a league-wide protests with hundreds of players joining in. Trump has not let the issue die, frequently taking to Twitter to claim that the players were dishonoring the nation and its flag with their demonstrations.
Trump also brought the issue back to light last week after Vice President Mike Pence was in attendance for a game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers, leaving shortly after the national anthem and quickly issuing a statement that he believed the protest was disrespectful to U.S. troops.
Critics noted that Pence’s decision to leave was politically motivated, meant to rile up anger among Trump’s base, and was planned in advance. Trump seemed to confirm that later in the same day when he tweeted that he had called on Pence to leave the game if there were any player protests. The 49ers have had players consistently demonstrating during the national anthem back to Colin Kaepernick’s tenure with the team, so it was a foregone conclusion that players at the game would be kneeling during the national anthem.
I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
Critics have taken on Donald Trump’s attempts to reframe the protests to being about U.S. troops rather than the real cause of shedding light on racial injustices. The demonstrations started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a statement against police brutality against minorities.
While Donald Trump has taken aim at protesting NFL players for apparently dishonoring U.S. troops, opponents say that is exactly what Donald Trump is doing. The left-leaning site ShareBlue noted that more than one week has passed since four service members were killed in an ambush in the African nation of Niger. During that time, Trump has tweeted more than 40 times on topics ranging from the NBA to the stock market to “unfunny” comedians, but has said nothing of the killed service members.
“But nothing about the fallen troops,” the report noted. “Trump has offered no condolences. His baffling silence is not going unnoticed, as more journalists point to Trump’s refusal to acknowledge, let alone honor, the dead Americans.”
Salon also criticized Trump, noting that the White House has been “curiously mum” about the service member deaths, which reportedly came at the hands of an Islamist jihadist group.
While Donald Trump has still said nothing about the service members killed last week, his attention on the NFL continues. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted about a report that the NFL could be considering a new rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem, thanking commissioner Roger Goodell.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]