Fox News host Shepard Smith issued a stern rebuke Monday of President Donald Trump’s criticism of the NFL’s national anthem protests, claiming the protests have nothing to do with the anthem itself and arguing Trump has been using the issue to feed “red meat” to his base.
“It’s very clear that for his base, this is the red meat of all red meat,” Smith said. “Because they’re able to reframe this. They’re able to say, ‘Oh, they’re attacking the national anthem, they’re attacking the troops, they’re attacking the flag.’”
“None of which they’re doing,” he continued. “They’re not doing any of that. They’re upset about racial injustice in the country and they’re upset about the things that the president has said, and yet he’s able to turn it around for his base.”
He then accused Trump of purposefully misusing the national anthem protests to distract Americans from his “struggling health care legislation and North Korea’s ongoing aggression.”
Fox News’ Shep Smith: Trump is turning around the NFL kneeling issue for his base, reframing it into something it’s not. pic.twitter.com/ARhmDm95MC
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) September 26, 2017
Many conservatives dispute the argument that the criminal justice system is biased against minorities. They also find fault with the medium by which protesters have chosen to express their dismay for the purported injustice.
“You have the right to protest Trump tmrw. But aren’t there better ways than kneeling before the flag soldiers died to defend?” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
You have the right to protest Trump tmrw. But aren’t there better ways than kneeling before the flag soldiers died to defend?
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) September 23, 2017
Brandon Morse, a contributor for the conservative website RedState, echoed this sentiment in a column published last week.
“If players wish to engage in activism off the field, then that’s great. They can use their platform to voice whatever opinion they wish. But when we’re there to watch football, hear about football, and talk about football, the last thing we want to hear are your opinions on why you think the police are racist,” he wrote.
This debate comes amid a brewing controversy stemming from remarks President Donald Trump made during a rally Friday in support of Alabama senatorial candidate Luther Strange.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects the flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump said.
That remark wound up triggering massive backlash, with players and team owners across the NFL mounting a joint effort to protest the national anthem in unison.
A poll conducted by the Remington Research Group following Trump’s remarks on the anthem protests found a 64 percent majority of Americans believe “NFL players should stand and be respectful during the national anthem.”
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