At the White House’s “Celebration of America” event held Tuesday, a man in the crowd decided to kneel in protest while the United States Marine Band played the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
After the national anthem concluded, one unidentified attendee was overheard shouting “stop hiding behind the armed services and the national anthem,” but the crowd quickly cut him off booing the attendee into silence.
“We love our country, we respect our flag, and we always stand for the national anthem–we always will stand for the national anthem,” President Trump stated at the event.
Mainstream media would have you believe that President Donald Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from attending as some sort of political currency, but the fact is there weren’t enough players from the team to make the trip. According to a close source to CBS News, fewer than 10 players committed to the White House event despite being in D.C. on Tuesday.
Among the outspoken players Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long made it clear that they wouldn’t be sharing the celebratory stage with the president. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that Trump’s decision “only proves that our president is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac.” The team’s owner, Jeffrey Lurie has been an outspoken Trump critic in the past and against the anthem policy.
The White House put out a statement that the fans of the Super Bowl champs deserve a better turn out from their favorite players.
The message behind the event seems to have been lost in translation. Those who attended were there to show their support and patriotism. In an email sent to staffers earlier in the day, obtained by ABC News, the White House Management Office urged all staffers to come attend the event to “honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.” This event was not about the NFL or the Philadelphia Eagles, rather for the love of our country and respect for those who’ve died to protect our rights.
President Trump went on to state, “We stand to show love for our fellow citizens and our magnificent Constitution. We stand to pay tribute to the incredible Americans who came before us and the heroic sacrifices they made.” He added that it’s past time to “explain why young Americans stand for our national anthem…maybe it’s about time that we understood.”
Last week the league announced a change to their pregame policy. Players that wouldn’t stand for the national anthem could now opt to remain in the locker room for the duration of the song, but if any player were to kneel on the field while the song is being played, their team would be fined. The policy was intended to sweep protests under the rug and the league feels they’ve made their point with kneeling in protest and would like to move on to other causes. The NFL’s Jim Trotter reported: The owners “did not want him using their brand as a ‘weapon’ during midterms.”
Trump did not mention the Eagles during his speech but did address the disrespect that’s been shown by kneeling during the national anthem in a Tweet on June 4.
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