President Trump on Monday defended Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to walk out of Sunday’s NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers in Indianapolis.
Trump tweeted, “The trip by @VP Pence was long planned. He is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for country!”
The trip by @VP Pence was long planned. He is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2017
The president’s response comes amid suggestions by some media outlets and on social media that Pence’s protest was a publicity stunt engineered by Trump.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
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Vice President Pence was so offended by kneeling professional football players that he left a game Sunday between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
“I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence, a former governor of Indiana, said in a statement.
“While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem,” the statement opposing the protest continued. “I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”
But first, the moment was commemorated with a photo of himself and second lady Karen Pence while they stood, hand over hearts, for the anthem.
It appears the choice to leave did not belong to Pence or his wife alone. According to Trump, it was his idea.
“I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country,” Trump tweeted, adding that he was proud of the couple.
Standing for Anthem wasn’t something that I spoke to Colin about sat. I relayed what had been reported about him standing in the future…
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 8, 2017
Only members of the 49ers knelt for the rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” — a symbol of protest not against the flag or the song but against institutional social injustice and the violence perpetrated by police against black men. Colts players stood, linked arm in arm.
The controversial practice of kneeling during the anthem was started by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has yet to be signed to a new team after his contract with the 49ers expired last year.
In an on-camera report on Sunday, CBS reporter Jason La Canfora said Kaepernick would stand for the anthem if he was signed to an NFL team.
1) Just got a message from @Kaepernick7, who says he has not discussed with anyone his plans in the event he is signed by an NFL team.
— Full Dissident (@hbryant42) October 8, 2017
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