In a troubling effort to conflate Trump calling an American citizen exercising his First Amendment rights an “SOB” with the flag, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to frame President Trump’s attacks on NFL players protesting on their knee as attacks on the flag, claiming the president sees it as his job to promote and defend the flag.
“If the protest is about the police officers, then they should protest the police officers on the field, not the American flag,” Sanders sarcastically told reporters during a White House briefing on Monday. “This should be something that every American can get behind,” Sanders said, pretending issue is “the flag.”
Citing Tom Brady calling Trumps comments “divisive,” Sanders was asked, “Does the president regret at all describing these players who take the knee as SOBs who should be fired?”
Sanders moved from Trump’s name-calling to Trump honoring the flag, “Look, this isn’t about the President being against anyone this is about the President and millions of America being for something, being for honoring our flag, honoring our national anthem, and honoring the men and women who fought to defend it.”
“But did the President go too far in referring to these players as SOBs who should be fired?” Sanders was asked.
“I think that it’s always appropriate for the President of the United States to defend our flag, to defend our national anthem, and to defend the men and women who fought and died to defend it,” Sanders replied, repeating the same talking points, but with “defend” instead of “honor.”
Asked yet again how it is unifying and what message does it send for the President to stand behind the presidential seal and call an American citizen who’s expressing his first amendment rights a “Son of a bitch,” Sanders yet again spit out the same talking points.
“It’s always appropriate for the President of this country to promote the flag. To promote our national anthem. And ask people to defend it.”
So in Trump world, calling an American citizen an SOB is the same thing as “promoting” the flag.
Watch the way Sanders replaces Trump’s attacks with the idea that he was defending our flag:
Sanders told a reporter that she doesn’t agree that Trump is harming repealing Obamacare efforts with his NFL focus, because he should focus on patriotism. Which was yet another attempt to reframe Trump’s attacks as being patriotic.
Bob Costas said of Trump’s criticism of NFL protests, “The idea that this doesn’t have something to do with race is preposterous.”
However, Sanders denied this had anything to do with race.
“The President’s not talking about race, he’s talking about pride in country,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said before exiting quickly.
Trump’s assault on the First Amendment is so grotesquely obvious that even Tom Brady sided against him. The Trump White House responds to this criticism with even more troubling moving of the flag, to a place where the President calling a citizen a son of a bitch is not only okay, it’s his job because it’s in service of the flag.
Donald Trump got several deferments to avoid serving but feels free to use the sacrifice of our troops to excuse his own attacks on the freedoms they actually serve to protect. They are not protecting just a flag, but the ideals behind the flag, including the First Amendment.