Trump apparently decided it was time to throw out some red meat to his base and distract their attention from the Russia investigation and toward NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
On Thursday, the NFL decided to put its protest policy on hold while it figures out “a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation,” according to The Associated Press.
But Trump has never addressed the reason for the player protests ― systemic racism that allows law enforcement to disproportionately take the lives of black men and women ― and his Friday tweet continued that omission.
Trump suggested that players who kneel during the playing of the anthem should be suspended despite free speech rights.
The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again - can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2018
Whether Trump was trying to distract people from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into 2016 campaign interference by the Russians or was simply trying to send out some dog whistles is unknown.
What can be seen is that many Twitter users refused to let Trump divert attention from serious issues facing his administration.
Let’s see, what can I poke a stick with to cause division and cater to my base today, oh yeah, I’ll talk smack about the NFL and the Anthem again. You’re such a little, sad, man ...— Chris (@ChrisV1639) July 20, 2018
Trump doesn’t even know the words to the national anthem. Hashtag sad.— Good Corn (@therealgoodcorn) July 20, 2018
You don't give a damn about the flag.— Avi (@AviAhvee) July 20, 2018
You lined it up alongside Russian flags as you sold our international policy to a hostile foreign power.
You stood in front of it as you spoke of handing over our prior Ambassador to Russia & lied about ongoing Russian attacks on the USA.
Yeah right Corporal Bone Spurs! They're Professional Athletes not Military Soldiers. The $40,000,000 Commissioner rather have kneeling players vs no players. Dollars & Sense! Or Black & White! #TakeAKnee#LordyThereAreTapes— JustLynn (@lovinurvibe) July 20, 2018
Taking the knee offends you and your supporters but grovelling to a Russian dictator like a a whipped puppy doesn’t don’t dare bring this up again hypocrite #TakeTheKnee#RussianPuppet#RussianGOPRepublicians— Patricia allen (@Eamon0303) July 20, 2018
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.