During her Monday press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defended President Donald Trump after he referred to certain NFL players as sons of b***hes during a rally on Friday.
“This isn't about the president being against anyone,” Sanders started before claiming that Trump's message was about honoring the American flag, among other things. Sanders read a statement from Gen. Martin Dempsey, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who defended the practice of standing during the national anthem.
Trump ignited a firestorm of controversy after he openly dreamed about an NFL owner firing football players who protested the national anthem.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b***h off the field ... he's fired!'” Trump told a crowd in Alabama on Friday.
Fox News Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts asked Sanders whether Trump regretted that characterization of the players and whether the president went “too far.”
Sanders didn't answer either question directly but instead touted the president as someone who defended the American flag.
“I think that it's always appropriate for the president of the United States to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem, and to defend the men and women who fought and died to defend it,” Sanders said.
NBC News White House Correspondent Peter Alexander pressed Sanders again, asking what message it sent for the president to attack someone exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.
“What message does it send for the president to stand behind the presidential seal at a rally in Alabama and call an American citizen, who's expressing his First Amendment rights, a son of a b***h?” Alexander asked.
Sanders seemed to reiterate her previous answers, defending Trump's statement as a way of promoting the American flag as well as the national anthem.
“It's always appropriate for the president of this country to promote our flag, to promote our national anthem, and ask people to respect it,” she said.
Watch Sanders's comments below, via CNN.