WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended President Donald Trump’s attacks on NFL players who went on one knee during the National Anthem, saying it is “always appropriate.”
“It’s always appropriate for the president of this country to promote our flag, to promote the National Anthem, and ask people to respect it,” Sanders told reporters at the daily press briefing on Monday.
On Sunday, Trump called for a boycott of the NFL if team owners did not take action against players who did not stand during the National Anthem. He had said that a player who kneeled during the anthem was a “son of a bitch” who should be taken off the field.
Sanders also pushed back on the idea that Trump’s tweets over the weekend about the NFL distracted from other issues on the agenda, including health care reform.
“It really doesn’t take long to type out 140 characters,” she said. “The president is very capable of doing more than one thing at a time and more than one thing during the day.”
Dozens of players went on one knee during the anthem at Sunday’s games, and a number of teams, coaches, and owners locked arms in a show of unity.
Players who have gotten on one knee during the anthem have said that it is a form a protest against police shootings and racial injustice.
“I think if the debate for them is really about police brutality they should protest protest the officers on the field that are protecting them instead of the American flag,” Sanders said. She later added that she was pointing out the “hypocrisy that if the goal is and the message is police brutality which they have stated then that doesn’t seem very appropriate that they would protest the American flag.”