President Donald Trump sat down with CBS for an interview that aired ahead of the NFL’s 53rd Super Bowl on Sunday, and he used part of the time to address the league’s controversy surrounding players kneeling for the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality.
Speaking with “Face the Nation’s” Margaret Brennan, the president highlighted the sentiments behind Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee and those who have followed in his footsteps while also pointing out the progress his administration has made when it comes to criminal justice reform.
“Well, you know, I’m the one that had passed judicial reform,” he said. “And if you look at what I did, criminal judicial reform, and what I’ve done- President Obama tried. They all tried. Everybody wanted to do it. And I got it done and I’ve been, you know, really- a lot of people in the NFL have been calling and thanking me for it.”
“They have been calling and thanking, you know, that people have been trying to get that taken care of and it’s now signed into law and affects tremendous numbers of people, and very good people,” he continued.
The president then went on to say that while it’s “great” to protest, it shouldn’t be done “at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem.”
“I think that when you want to protest I think that’s great,” he said. “But I don’t think you do it at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem. Absolutely.”
.@margbrennan talked to @realDonaldTrump about kneeling during the national anthem and asked if he’s sensitive at all to players like @Kaepernick7, who point out the majority of victims of police violence are black. pic.twitter.com/uWIu9GRpa0
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 3, 2019
When asked if he understands and is sensitive to the motivations of players who use the national anthem as a time to protest, he explained that it’s still just not the time or place to do so:
“A lot of it is having to do with reform from what I understand. Whether it’s criminal justice or whatever it may be and they have different versions and everybody seemed to have a different version of it. But a lot of it had to do with that, and I took care of that. I think that people have to, at all times, respect our flag and at all times respect our net- our- our national anthem and our country. And I think there are plenty of places and times you can protest and you can do a lot. But you can’t do that. That’s my opinion.”