Donald Trump continues his attack on the Philadelphia Eagles, and now the president’s rationale for the canceled visit and his own behavior during the Super Bowl national anthem is coming under scrutiny.
A prominent Eagles player has called out Trump for the excuse he offered when canceling the team’s White House trip, and others have pointed out that Trump has failed to heed his own advice on respecting the flag. As the New York Times noted, Trump put the national anthem policy at the center of his cancellation.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump said in a statement. “They disagree with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the national anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”
But many quickly pointed out that the Eagles had no players taking a knee during the national anthem for the entire season and postseason. Wide receiver Torrey Smith said that Eagles players were not skipping the visit because they disagreed with Trump’s national anthem views and called out Trump for spreading the “false narrative” that the NFL players are anti-military. Smith’s father was a 20-year Army veteran.
“There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views,” Smith wrote on Twitter. “The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish”
That led others to point out Trump’s behavior during the national anthem. While there were no members of the Philadelphia Eagles taking a knee during the Super Bowl anthem, Trump himself did not stand in respect — or even pay attention — during the anthem.
As the Sun-Sentinel reported, Trump hosted a Super Bowl event at his Mar-a-Lago resort for wealthy friends that included a performance from the Florida Atlantic University marching band, which played “Hail to the Chief” and “Shut Up and Dance” while the college’s cheerleaders performed. Donald Trump took time to personally thank the cheerleaders after the performance, which People magazine noted caused him to miss the national anthem.
Just a reminder that at his Super Bowl party trump stayed outside to ogle college cheerleaders instead of standing and respecting the national anthem.
— Sam Mann (@SamMann4) June 5, 2018
After Trump’s announcement, many pointed out the discrepancy in how Trump treated the national anthem and how players responded.
WATCH: President Trump and the First Lady visit with college cheerleaders and a college band outside of the president's golf course in south Florida ahead of the #SuperBowl. pic.twitter.com/hlmUdeZrej
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 4, 2018
The real reason for the cancellation may have been the team’s poor attendance. Others had reported that fewer than 10 players planned to attend the White House visit.
— Philly.com (@phillydotcom) June 5, 2018
After abruptly canceling the Philadelphia Eagles visit to the White House, Donald Trump said he would host an event for the team’s fans instead, with a playing of the national anthem.