Whatever Donald Trump’s goal may have been when he decided to attack black NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem, he didn’t succeed. If he was trying to divide locker rooms along racial lines for his own benefit, it instead resulted in team unity. If he was trying to get NFL team owners to side with him, they sided with their players. And if he was just looking for a distraction, his Russia scandal isn’t going away. Now his anthem ranting has taken its most bizarre turn yet.
Over the weekend, more NFL players than ever took a knee as the national anthem played before their respective football games. NFL team owners stood arm in arm with their players, as some of those players took a knee. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones even took a knee with his players, just before the anthem. So how is Trump dealing with having lost this battle? Two words: Usain Bolt.
That’s right, Trump has decided to invoke the world’s fastest man in a bizarre attempt at keeping his feud with the NFL alive. He tweeted “Even Usain Bolt from Jamaica, one of the greatest runners and athletes of all time, showed RESPECT for our National Anthem!” But the included video merely shows Bolt pausing an interview while the anthem is being played. He didn’t want to talk over it. That’s not remotely the same thing as taking a knee during the anthem, which in no way interrupts the proceedings.
This also shows how badly Trump is reeling from having attacked two prominent black athletes, Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry, on consecutive days. It gave away that his attacks were racially motivated. Now he’s feebly trying to push back against that notion by citing a black athlete who refused to talk over the national anthem. But even by Trump’s standards, none of it makes any sense. He’s trying to sustain a fight that he knows he’s already lost.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report