President Donald Trump continued his attack on protests in the NFL for a seventh straight day, saying that players kneeling during the National Anthem ahead of games to protest racial inequality in the United States is an “important issue.”
“It’s not a distraction at all,” Trump told Pete Hegseth in an interview that aired on Thursday’s “Fox and Friends.” “The world has picked it up. Guess what? Most people agree with me.”
“The NFL cannot disrespect our country,” he continued. “They cannot disrespect our flag or our national anthem. And they can’t have people sitting down or kneeling down during our national anthem.”
He added that he thought former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s original protest last season was “terrible,” and that the NFL “is in a box. They have to do something about it.”
“They can stop it,” he said. “They have rules for everything: You can’t dance in the end zone. You can’t wear the pink socks, relative to breast cancer…They have rules for everything. Why aren’t they honoring this country by enforcing a rule that’s been in existence for a long time?”
Trump said his friends who own NFL teams prompted him to bring up the protests in the first place, last Friday during a rally in Alabama. He said his friends told him, “we are in a situation where we have to do something.”
“I think they’re afraid of their players, you want to know the truth. And I think it’s disgraceful,” Trump said of his friends who own teams, before repeating his line about “way down” ratings and saying stadiums he’s seen have had a lot of empty seats.
Watch Trump’s interview above.