To help defend his claim that NFL players kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful to the American flag, President Trump has been roping in a handful of other people. It turns out, most of them are not appreciative of the implied endorsement.
On Wednesday, for example, Trump tweeted this meme:
Usain Bolt's team wrote back:
Trump also retweeted two memes featuring war veterans, first of retired Marine Staff Sgt. John Jones, who lost both his legs in Iraq.
"Just stop with this sycophantic bulls--t and actually do something to support us," Jones told BuzzFeed News. "I would want Trump to tweet about that, instead of fueling the fire with the people making 10 million to score a freaking touchdown." The widow of Pat Tillman, who left the NFL to become a U.S. Army Ranger after the 9/11 attacks and was killed in a friendly-fire incident, had a similar response.
"As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify," Marie Tillman told CNN. "Pat's service, along with that of every man and woman's service, should never be politicized in a way that divides us."
Trump even dragged Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones into the fray:
In fact, "the president blew up Jerry's phone, calling him four times throughout the day" on Monday to ask him if the Cowboys would protest, reports Jean-Jacques Taylor at NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. In kneeling with his team before the anthem, "Jerry thought he had avoided all of the drama and consternation associated with this delicate issue," and then Trump sent his tweet, putting Jones in an "uncomfortable position," Taylor says. "It's fair for some players to wonder if Jerry conned them, tricking them into appearing to be subservient, when they were actually trying to make a statement about unity and equality."