It has now been nearly a week since President Donald Trump made NFL protests during the national anthem a huge national story, and judging by today’s White House press briefing, it doesn’t look like this story is going to die down anytime soon.
Reporter April Ryan confronted White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders this afternoon about the issue and it turned contentious almost immediately. As Ryan noted that many NFL players are upset about the back-and-forth with the president, Sanders jumped in to state “many Americans” were also upset.
“Can I finish my question?” Ryan shot back. “Many NFL players are very upset, many people had different ideas and opinions on this, but when the president weighed in, the NFL said we will be united. There is an anticipation that it could grow worse this weekend. What is the president anticipating, what should we expect him to say about this? Is it now the NFL against the president?”
Sanders responded that Trump has “made it clear” that this shouldn’t be about the players against the president but instead it should be about “our country coming together to support the flag, support the national anthem.” She added that Trump wouldn’t back away from the issue.
Ryan went on to point out that the players likely do love their country and are using this opportunity to highlight an issue — racial injustice — and if the president will recognize they are challenging the system, leading Sanders to retort that POTUS wants them to instead celebrate American people, their country, and the flag.
When Ryan tried to get further clarification, Sanders said that “I don’t think there’s much to clarify — it’s pretty black and white.”
“People are very divided on this issue,” Ryan stated. “It is a racial issue for some people and when the military issue is brought in, the military fights for the freedoms of this nation, and the players are saying they are thankful for the military service to allow the freedom to do this. Is there some kind of confusion here or is it us versus them?”
Sanders would answer that she didn’t think that should be the case before continuing to hammer away that this was all about respecting the flag and anthem.
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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