President Trump’s first year in office was plagued by an onslaught of controversy, mostly brought on by his divisive agenda. Whether this included the push to repeal Obamacare, barring transgender individuals from enlisting in the military, or an array of other discriminatory policies, it was clear that the Trump administration would embody everything that so many feared that it would.
One of the more strange and problematic of these controversies came in the battle that arose with the NFL and its players, as many of the professional athletes would show their solidarity with anti-racial activists by taking a knee when the national anthem would be played. With Trump having been elected on a platform of racial biases, and supporters of confederate ideals making their beliefs explicit, many influential individuals from sports stars, to celebrities, made their voices heard through an array of actions. Evidently so, the president would not take lightly to what he believed to be an attack on American ideals, and a disrespect to the nation, despite the peaceful and just ways that the NFL players would end up protesting.
It’s a blessing Trump wants nothing to do with an NBC Super Bowl. His absence makes any and all situations better. https://t.co/KhU1lO4CiS
— John Dean (@JohnWDean) February 4, 2018
On Sunday, the president and first lady would travel to their Mar-a-Lago resort, greeted and entertained by college cheerleaders and a college band from Florida Atlantic University, prior to the game. Trump, who was hosting a super bowl party at the resort, would thank the college students for their performances, and would refuse any questions from reporters there on.
This is Philadelphia Eagles player Chris Long. He donated his entire season's income to charity, including his first 6 paychecks to Charlottesville Scholarship programs.
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) February 4, 2018
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) February 5, 2018
Throughout the NFL regular season, interactions and sentiment between Trump and the NFL was fraught with conflict. Trump consistently criticized the players who kneeled during the national anthem, would go on to use profanity against them, and urge owners of various NFL teams to fire their players when they advocated for equal rights. With the biggest game of the NFL season, the super bowl, having been just hours away, Trump clearly used the opportunity as yet another way to attack the players, and promote his unequal policies. According to a CNN article, in a message prior to the beginning of the game, Trump said that:
‘Though many of our nation’s service members are unable to be home with family and friends to enjoy this evening’s American tradition, they are always in our thoughts and prayers. We owe these heroes the greatest respect for defending our liberty and our American way of life. Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner. We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the national anthem.’
Consider this: Donald Trump is so racist he can't even let the White House release a simple "enjoy the Super Bowl" statement without relitigating his racist views.
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) February 4, 2018
Trump clearly made an indirect and attempted subtle attack on the athletes that had protested in the recent past, failing to consider his own shortcomings in regards to the military. Despite the president’s attempt to, again, use the justification of servicemen and women abroad, it is crucial to note that Trump has yet to visit American troops stationed in hostile countries, a tradition that has long been ongoing with previous presidents.
As Trump’s racially-divisive policies continue to bring challenges to the country, his constant use of the military as justification is an egregious and disrespectful way to honor the legacy of the nation, as well as the sacrifices of troops stationed abroad.
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