President Trump gave another interview to Fox & Friends on Thursday morning and once again made extreme, inflammatory statements. Show co-host Brian Kilmeade told Trump about the NFL’s decision to impose fines on football teams for players who don’t stand for the national anthem. Players would have the option of staying in the locker room during the song. Kilmeade asked Trump for his reaction. The players, the president said, “should stand proudly,” hitting the word proudly hard, because now he wants to dictate not just what the players should do but also how they do it. He went on to say that the players “shouldn’t be staying in the locker rooms. You should stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, or … maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
So now the president is calling for the expulsion of football players from the United States. I thought perhaps the Fox & Friends hosts might downplay this part of Trump’s reaction, since it is so blithely insane. But instead they emphasized it. After playing Kilmeade’s interview, Steve Doocy paraphrased the president’s reaction with approval. “If you want to stand, maybe you shouldn’t be in the country, so that’s the president’s assertion,” Doocy said with a big grin on his face. A bit later he offered a suggestion to networks broadcasting football games in the future — a running tally of how many players aren’t on the field during the anthem: “I’ll bet there’ll be a box [on the screen] saying so many people were on the sidelines [standing] and so many people were missing.” Doocy was cheerfully proposing that TV networks help persecute athletes.
Instead of calling in to the show, as he did a few weeks ago, Trump gave a one-on-one interview to Brian Kilmeade. It was taped Wednesday outside of New York City on Long Island, where Trump had overseen his “forum” on the gang MS-13, another phenomenon Trump is cynically exploiting for political gain. Trump’s answers to Kilmeade’s questions about that gang, about the Mueller investigation, and about North Korea were all just rephrased quotations from the speeches he gives at his regular, head-exploding rallies.
You’ll recall that this entire football controversy was manufactured by Trump at a September 2017 rally in Alabama, when he spontaneously improvised a line condemning players who kneel in protest, to stir up the crowd. The subject suddenly exploded into national prominence — another divisive distraction completely invented by Trump. With so little resistance to him, we now have to hear him talk about expelling citizens in football uniforms from America. Hope you’re happy, Fox & Friends.
Fox & Friends airs weekdays at 6 a.m. on Fox News.
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