White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that NFL players protesting the National Anthem had lost the focus of their protest.
“I think the focus has long since changed,” she said, after hundreds of NFL players joined their teammates by taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest Trump’s remarks disparaging the protesters.
“The president is not talking about race. The president is talking about pride in our country,” she said.
Sanders pointed to the “hypocrisy” of the players who were supposed to be protesting police violence.
“I think the debate is really for them about police brutality. They should probably protest the officers on the field that are protecting them instead of the American flag,” Sanders said.
When asked by reporters why the president was distracting the country with culture wars, Sanders denied that Trump’s comments were inappropriate.
“Look, I certainly don’t think that talking about the American flag is a distraction for the President of the United States,” she said. “Again, this should be something that every American can get behind.”
She added that Trump’s comments were less about being against the NFL athlete protesters and more about being for the American flag, and for the National Anthem.
“I know it’s a priority for the president to always defend our flag, always defend the National Anthem, and certainly to support the men and women in uniform,” Sanders said.