TOWOIT #243: Taking the Knee

September 25, 2017… Day 249

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(NBC’s Hallie Jackson to Sarah Huckabee Sanders today)

I just heard that Susan Collins is the third Republican no vote (along with McCain and Paul) on the latest attempt at repealing the ACA. This is a huge relief. I still hold out hope for Lisa Murkowski to declare herself a no, because I like to believe that Alaskan women are pragmatic and non-craven, even when they are Republicans. Not you, Sarah.

Puerto Rico is in bad shape and I’m keeping that in mind even as I join the collective groan/whoop/eyeroll/head-shake/knee-taking/soliloquizing/solidarity of the NFL and NBA and other sports organizations after Trump sniped wildly at them for his own racist purposes all weekend.

I am still in disbelief that this man is president. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s repeated vociferous defense of his comments on protesters (sons of bitches) is just as amazing.




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Questions they asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders about taking the knee today:

  • Sarah, clearly the President has strong views on whether or not players in professional sports teams should stand for the National Anthem. Given the response that the President has gotten over the last 48 hours, even from Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, who believes that what the President said on Friday night was very divisive, does the President regret at all describing these players who take a knee for the national anthem as SOBs who should be fired?
  • I understand all that. I understand General Dempsey’s position. I think people would thank him for his service to this great nation. But did the President go too far in referring to these players as SOBs who should be fired?
  • Sarah, let me ask you — you’ve often talked about how the President uses Twitter as a platform to sort of emphasize those things that are most important. Over the course of the last 72 hours, the President has tweeted more than a dozen times about sports, about kneeling, about NASCAR, and this topic. He tweeted zero times about Puerto Rico. So I guess the bottom-line question is: What message is the President sending by emphasizing sports right now and not a big crisis that’s affecting so many people?
  • So to be very clear, you say the President is instead emphasizing something that brings Americans together. Then what message does it send for the President to stand behind the presidential seal at a rally in Alabama and call an American citizen who is expressing his First Amendment rights a “son of a bitch”?
  • Is it appropriate to use that language about an American citizen?
  • How about to promote the First Amendment?
  • A quick follow-up, if I can. The President said that kneeling has nothing to do with race. Colin Kaepernick took a kneel — took to his knees in these games — many of these games — specifically because he said black people in this country were not being treated fairly by police. How is that not an issue of race?
  • So he changed the rally with that in mind though? That was a point he said, I want to put this in the headlines?
  • Sarah, when Colin Kaepernick says that his protest is about fighting police brutality, fighting racial disparity, racial injustice, you’re not taking him at his word. You’re saying the focus has long since moved on. But when white supremacists say that their protest is about heritage and not hate, the President does take them at their word. So why is there this disparity about who gets to decide what protest is about?
  • This is a significant week, a pivotal week for the President, for Republicans. It’s an opportunity — some are saying the last best chance for repealing and replacing Obamacare, and yet much of yesterday and the beginning part of today was focused, as far as the President is concerned, on the NFL, on players who take a knee. Can you explain how that’s helpful to that effort of repealing and replacing Obamacare, when the President spent so much time on that other issue — the issue involving sports?
  • But you see, Sarah, how it’s taken up so much oxygen, right? When the President speaks about that particular issue, you see how the majority of questions that have been asked of you so far today have been about this particular issue.
  • He has a tremendous amount of power when he tweets, and we report on it. And so when he tweets something, it does take away from his legislative agenda, would you not agree?
  • Sarah, can you just clarify, were you saying that — are you encouraging NFL players to protest police?
  • Great. And then my other question, too. I just want to suss out, I think, a question that has been going around here today, because you talk about the President wanting to defend the flag. You know the oath of office was to defend the Constitution. So does the President have a problem with the First Amendment?
  • Can I follow up on what Hallie was asking? Why is it that the President, over the weekend, is going after or seeming to go after African American athletes, and then this morning he’s putting out a tweet praising NASCAR, which obviously is geared towards a different demographic, and the way they stand in respect and honor of the flag? Is he trying to wage something of a culture war?




2 thoughts on “TOWOIT #243: Taking the Knee

  1. We need to honor our differences, support the Constitution, and come together. I keep thinking, Get off the phone, President Trump, and do your job! Your focus on the ridiculous is turning America into a circus.
    The Constitution begins with We the People in large letters because that is what our founding fathers designed for posterity. This president wants to deny our most sacred of principles as outlined in the Bill of Rights.

    1. Yes, thank you. I hope people can delicately separate their patriotism from their discomfort at seeing black people peacefully protesting against racism and police brutality.

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