President Donald Trump said during an impromptu Rose Garden press conference Monday that former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s defense of football players’ national anthem protests shows “why she lost the election.”
Clinton faced backlash after she said Sunday at the Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival that National Football League players protesting racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem are taking a “reverent” position. Claiming that such a form of protesting isn’t against “our anthem or our flag,” Trump’s 2016 opponent urged the country to “resist” the president’s portrayal of the protesters.
"I think she's wrong," Trump said of Clinton. "When they're taking knees — there's plenty of time to do knees and there's plenty of time to do lots of other things. But when you take a knee ... you're sitting, essentially, for our great national anthem, you're disrespecting our flag and you're disrespecting our country."
Clinton maintained that the NFL players' protests served "to demonstrate in a peaceful way against racism and injustice in our criminal system," adding, "I think it would be a grave error for Democrats to recede from those fights, so therefore we have to stand up, fight back, resist."
But Trump took issue with Clinton's interpretation of the protests first instigated by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 season.
"Well, that's why she lost the election," he said. "I mean, honestly, it's that thinking, that is the reason she lost the election. When you go down and take a knee or any other way, you're sitting, essentially for our great national anthem. If Hillary Clinton actually made the statement that, in a form, sitting down during the playing of our great national anthem is not disrespectful, then I fully understand why she didn't win."
After clarifying that "there are a lot of reasons" Clinton couldn't snatch the election away from him, the president said one major reason she lost was that "she was not good at what she did." The president also indicated that he had only "just heard about" Clinton's statement when asked for comment at the press conference.
"But I will tell you, that is something that I had just heard about, and I think that her statement in itself is very disrespectful to our country," Trump said.
(photo credit, homepage image: Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore / Clinton Rally 109, CC BY 2.0, by Keith Kissel; photo credit, article image: Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore / Hillary Clinton, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)
Last Modified: October 16, 2017, 7:47 pm