During an interview with Fox & Friends this morning, President Trump suggested to host Brian Kilmeade that NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem should be barred from the field — and maybe even the U.S.
“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing,” Trump said in the interview. “You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Trump was commenting on the new NFL policy that seeks to fine players who do not stand for the National Anthem. At the same time, players will no longer be required to be on the field during the Anthem.
Trump’s comments on Fox News will likely revive the Anthem debate, one that was relatively quiet for a while after after Trump fanned the flames last September, where he told an audience at a rally in Alabama: “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, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”
As The Atlantic‘s David A. Graham points out, Trump’s stance on the NFL protests contradict his claims of being a champion of free speech.
Trump has claimed that religious people are not free to speak their minds (including saying “Merry Christmas”), and he decried efforts to prevent speakers like the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from addressing students at the University of California, Berkeley. Yet at the same time, the president is infuriated by athletes, most of them black, who are protesting to bring attention to racial injustice. He seeks to dictate their behavior, and he has argued repeatedly that they should lose their livelihoods.
During the interview, Trump not only demonstrated contempt for the Constitution, he also suggested his doesn’t like the judicial process and the rule of law, especially when it comes to judges processing immigration cases.
Trump on NFL players who don't stand for the national anthem: "You shouldn't be playing. You shouldn't be there. Maybe you shouldn't be in the country." (via Fox) pic.twitter.com/xx6eJ9qXNY
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 24, 2018
“We’re the only country that has judges,” he said. “They want to hire thousands of judges. Other countries have, it’s called security people, people that stand there and say, ‘You can’t come in.’ We have thousands of judges and you need thousands more judges. The whole system is corrupt. It’s horrible. So yeah, you need thousands of judges based on this crazy system. Who ever heard of a system where you put people through trials?”
When asked about the planned summit with North Korea, Trump didn’t give a specific answer. But as numerous reports Thursday morning indicate, Trump canceled the summit, telling Kim Jong Un in a letter that “the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement” was the reason for the cancelation.
“Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place,” Trump wrote.
So much for that Nobel Peace Prize.
Watch the full interview below:
Featured image via screen grab