White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that football players upset about police brutality should direct their anger and law enforcement officers, not the nation's flag. He is simply "for" national pride, the flag, the anthem, and the troops. "I'm not sure why those two things would be combined".
Sanders said it's "always appropriate for the President of the United States to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem and to defend the men and women who fought and died to defend it".
She said Trump is trying to support the military rather than place an emphasis on sports.
The statement created backlash.
Most of the players participating in the protests, which were started by former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick last season, are African-American.
They're not "protesting the American flag", though.
In other news, North Korea foreign minister Ri Yong-ho claimed Trump declared war on his country by tweeting that North Korea "won't be around much longer".
'This has nothing to do with race.
He told his political opponents on the football field - men who have defined their lives and careers by their mental and physical toughness - to essentially, "Do what I say or lose your job". This has nothing to do with race or anything else. "This should be something that every American can get behind", Sanders said, pretending issue is "the flag".
"He's emphasizing something that should be unifying", Sanders said.
One reporter wondered if Trump thinks some of the people kneeling during the anthem at games were "very fine people" - as he has called some who marched with white supremacists in Charlottesville - or if he thinks they're all "sons of bitches". And when reporters repeatedly asked Press Secretary Sarah Sanders about the matter during Monday's press briefing, her nonsensical responses didn't do much to clarify the debate.
Sanders went on to quote Dempsey as saying he stood before the flag because the world was better off with the U.S.in it.
She subsequently explained that remark: "I was kind of pointing out the hypocrisy", she said. They're making the point that police brutality is an affront to American ideals by protesting it during the flag's display.
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He was later released on Monday without any charge. "I went to see Ben last night down in Bristol". The Three Lions' Ashes squad announcement is set to take place immediately before the fixture.