President Donald Trump once again criticized kneeling during the national anthem as “very disrespectful,” sparking a confrontational moment between him and CNN political analyst April Ryan.
The exchange occurred near the end of a lengthy joint press conference at the Rose Garden Monday afternoon headed by Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a presser that covered a swath of issues including: tax reform, healthcare repeal, who is running for president in 2020 — of which Trump implored Hillary Clinton to run again — Bowe Bergdahl and kneeling during the national anthem.
“You’re disrespecting our flag and you’re disrespecting our country, and the NFL should have suspended some of these players for one game, not fire them, suspend them for one game and if they did it again,” Trump said of the protests spread that have spread throughout the NFL. “It could have been two games and three games and then for the season. You wouldn’t have people disrespecting our country right now.”
CNN political analyst, White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief at American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan responded to the president’s comments by saying that the reason it’s a “police-involved shooting issue.”
“That’s what the players are saying,” she said.
The president replied by repeating his stance.
“Just hear it. Hear it. It is very disrespectful to our country when they take a knee during the national anthem,” he said. Trump also said that the “people of our country are very angry at the NFL,” adding “all you have to do is look at their ratings and look at their stadiums. You see empty seats where you never saw them before.”
You can watch the whole press conference above.