Singer and songwriter Tom Morello went off on President Donald Trump’s recent attacks on the NFL players protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the American National Anthem.
During the panel discussion on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Morello said that he finds this entire argument instructive in telling of who Trump really is.
“It’s telling that when athletes protest racism, it’s assumed that they’re protesting America,” he said. “There’s two sides of the flag. There’s the flag that flew over the founding of our democracy, and over soldiers who fought in our wars, and was emblazoned on our uniforms on the heroic 9/11 first responders. It’s the same flag that flew over slavery and the genocide of the Native American population, the napalming of Vietnamese children, the destruction of Afghanistan’s civilian hospitals. It’s also on the uniform of every police officer who has killed an innocent African-American person. It’s also the flag that is in every courtroom of ever Judge who has let every one of those cops go free.”
He went on to say that if people are uncomfortable about football they should think about the discomfort felt by families of those dead black men killed by police.
Urban Radio’s White House correspondent April Ryan thinks that Trump’s focus on “the flag” is just another vehicle Trump is using to be able to stand up against the NFL players.
“These people are just as patriotic as anyone else in this room,” she said. “They just want to bring attention to something that has been going on since slavery.”
NBC national affairs analyst John Heilemann said that if Trump was an NFL team, he would be zero and 16 because his playbook is the most predictable in the world. According to Heilemann, Trump is simply trying to distract from everything else that is dysfunctional in his White House by hiding behind a race-baiting culture war with the NFL. For the first time, however, “the culture war rose up and smacked him back.”
Ryan brought up Trump’s past fights with the NFL in which Trump wanted to be an owner but the NFL wouldn’t have him.
“But here’s the problem, when this president went to Alabama to talk about Luther Strange, he decided not to use the lighting-rod of Charlottesville and inserted the American flag issue with taking a knee,” she continued. “He played this game and he thinks he’s winning.”
Morello said that he doesn’t believe anyone should be able to watch football or listen to music without knowing there’s this going on in the world.
Maher said that it bothers him because Trump has managed to distract people from what the original protest was about. “He actually said, ‘People have died for the anthem!'” Maher quoted Trump. “Did anyone die for the anthem?”
Watch the full discussion below: