As President Trump roll outs increasingly disastrous policies that are sure to damage the United States for generations to come, he continues to lean into the national discourse on the culture war, distracting from the very real problems he is creating by ginning up imagined grievances and hammering away at societal wedge issues.
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One of the most enduring of his inane hobbyhorses is his insistence that NFL players stand during the national anthem, a clear attack on the First Amendment rights of players who would rather kneel in protest of police brutality against people of color.
Recently, the NFL passed a rule requiring players to stand, but that doesn’t mean Trump will be dropping the contentious conversation any time soon. The rhetoric plays far too well with the more bigoted elements of his base for him to simply let it drop from his arsenal.
Today, the White House released a statement from Trump in which he attacked the Philadelphia Eagles, who defeated the New England Patriots and their Trump-supporting quarterback 41-33 to become the winners of the 2018 Super Bowl.
As is customary, the team will visit the White House for a congratulatory meeting with the sitting president.
Several players have already stated they have no intention of going, with some stating that they don’t wish to show support for Trump. Wide Receiver Torrey Smith previously made his feelings towards Trump clear on CNN.
“For me, it’s not just about politics. If I told you that I was invited to a party by an individual I believe is sexist or has no respect for women or I told you that this individual has said offensive things towards many minority groups, and I don’t feel comfortably by it.” said Smith.
“This individual also called my peers and my friends SOB’s, you would understand why I wouldn’t want to go to that party. Why is it any different when the person has title of President of the United States?” he added.
Never one to handle criticism or dissent gracefully, Trump had his administration release a statement today in which the White House disingenuously claimed that the full Eagles team will not be visiting because “they disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”
Of course, those players who wish not to attend are not trying to disrespect the military or the country, but rather are drawing issue with the president attacking NFL players’ right to free speech and protest.
Rather than accept a smaller delegation of players, Trump has canceled the invite altogether. Instead, he will be holding an obnoxious event to “honor” the country, which probably means stroke his own ego. He and his cronies intend to “loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”
In other words, Trump has chosen to make the day all about himself.
New Trump statement says the @Eagles are “unable” to come to the WH tomorrow:"They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country." pic.twitter.com/pP2d9MOBeU
— Andrew Desiderio (@desiderioDC) June 4, 2018
The announcement is petty and an act of disrespect to Philadelphia and the entire state of Pennsylvania, a swing state which narrowly went for Trump in the 2016 election.
The Eagles have been trying to win a Super Bowl for decades and their fans are widely known as the most passionate and outspoken in the entire sport. Trump could not have picked a worse group of fans to insult.
Twitter is being less than kind to his decision.
Less than 10 Eagles were willing to go to meet President Trump.
When he found out the number, he cancelled it. Last year only 34 players from the New England Patriots went to WH…missing included Tom Brady. Trump's assertion that NFL players are anti flag & military is a lie.
— Al Thompson (@thompsonIII) June 5, 2018
Does anyone believe Trump uninvited the Eagles? No. They didn't want to go to the WH because they hate him like the rest of us do. It's his desperate attempt t make it seem like it was his idea
— Merritt Kelly (@MerrittKelly1) June 5, 2018
The US Constitution was WRITTEN in Philadelphia. Mark my words: The Eagles 2018 NFL season opens on 6 September at home in Philly. Every player is going to come out of the locker room and kneel. The birds will give the bird to Trump and the NFL. My new favorite team.
— curtis milam (@curtmilam) June 5, 2018
— ✖️Deltin✖️ (@MrClutchTLS) June 5, 2018
Trump cannot pardon himself nor can he shoot someone & not be indicted! He'd be impeached first and indicted second!
— MaureenR8209 (@MaureenR8209) June 5, 2018
The Philadelphia Eagles just won the Super Bowl for a second time this year. The @Eagles RULE! Screw the chump in charge – there will be plenty of time to visit Trump when he's in PRISON for TREASON. #PhillyPhilly #TrumpStinks #Eagles https://t.co/KtlcAV4977
— Darren (@darren04) June 5, 2018
Regardless of Trump’s announcement, Philadelphia finally has the victory they deserve and not even our whiny president can change that.