MSNBC’s Joy Reid walked through the inherent racism underlying President Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on NFL players protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the American National Anthem.
During a panel discussion on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” the host explained that he’s heard from sources that there isn’t a single person working in the White House who thinks the protests are a positive thing.
“I think Donald Trump sees this from the point of view of the NFL team owners,” Reid said. “They should be able to order the players to do what they say. Now that we have unpacked a lot of this, we know there’s a Defense Department deal that forced the players to go out on the field and make a sort of a patriotic display of themselves. And you have a couple of players, starting with Eric Reid and of course Colin Kaepernick, who decided to use that moment, when they’re basically — when the NFL’s being paid to do the patriotic display by the Defense Department — to make a statement, not of the flag of police but brutality, about the killing of black people by police with impunity. That is what the protests are about.”
She went on to explain that Trump has tried to “make it about him,” so that he can “wrap himself in the flag.”
“Well, you know, he had a chance to wrap himself in the flag and fight in Vietnam and he had five deferments so he didn’t have to do that — so he didn’t have to fight for that anthem or the flag. Donald Trump is the wrong person to lecture anybody about their duties to their country.”
She further said that Trump relishes in the opportunity to talk about the issue because “he understands that the base that he’s talking to.”
“Donald Trump is not talking to the country, not president of the United States,” Reid continued. “He’s the president of one-third of the voting population of the United States and one-third of one-half of the adult population of the United States and only talking to them and he understands that that trigger, especially since it’s a racial trigger. [He] only goes after the black ESPN reporter, the black football players.”
She went on to say that Trump understands that the main part of his base “wants to black athletes needs to shut up and entertain me, get out on the field and rub up and down the field and entertain me while I sit and watch the anthem eating Doritos and stand up and perform patriotism, because I said so, because the owners said so.”
She explained that the main part of his base shares that racial grievance with him and that he’s been using it since the 1980’s.
“He’s doing it on purpose because that’s part of who he is and he knows that it makes his base happy,” Reid closed.
Watch the full discussion below: