Monday morning, President Donald Trump posted a series of tweets arguing against those who are in favor of kneeling during the national anthem.
He retweeted a photo of NFL player Pat Tillman, who left his football career to join the military in 2002 following the September 11 attacks. He later died in combat in 2004:
— Ⓙay (@jayMAGA45) September 24, 2017
While many liked Trump's retweet of Tillman, the deceased's widow, Marie Tillman, is speaking out against those who are attempting to use the photo for political gains.
In a statement shared by Tillman in the hopes that the president would read it, and published by CNN, she said:
“As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify,” Marie said. “It is my hope that his memory should always remind people that we must come together.”
“Pat's service, along with that of every man and woman's service, should never be politicized in a way that divides us. We are too great of a country for that.”
Her comments continued:
“Those that serve fight for the American ideals of freedom, justice and democracy,” she wrote. “They and their families know the cost of that fight. I know the very personal costs in a way I feel acutely every day. The very action of self expression and the freedom to speak from one's heart — no matter those views — is what Pat and so many other Americans have given their lives for. Even if they didn't always agree with those views.”
Tillman has been very skeptical of Trump and she said she believes her husband, who was known to have liberal political views, would be critical of him as well, CNN notes.