Four star general: "I know something about the flag ... put me down with Kaepernick"
Donald Trump’s attacks on the NFL players who protest racism and police brutality has backfired tremendously. Now even Michael Hayden, a four-star general who served in the military for 39 years and went on to serve as national security adviser and head the CIA, has taken a side — and it’s not with Trump. In […]
Now even Michael Hayden, a four-star general who served in the military for 39 years and went on to serve as national security adviser and head the CIA, has taken a side — and it’s not with Trump.
In a powerful and blistering op-ed, Hayden explained the evolution of his feelings about former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protesting police brutality against black communities by kneeling during the national anthem.
He “wasn’t enthusiastic about turning a unifying and celebratory moment for most Americans into a venue for protest,” Hayden writes.
But Trump changed that for Hayden with his deplorable rant last Friday about “son of a bitch” players who should stand during the national anthem or be fired.
Trump, before a red-hot Alabama crowd of his political base, decided to treat the “SOBs” who wouldn’t stand for the anthem the way he has previously treated other groups like Mexicans (murderers and rapists), intelligence professionals (Nazis), immigrants (deeply unfair), refugees (dangerous), and Muslims (they hate us).
Worse, though, is the subsequent spin from Trump, his administration, and his supporters defending Trump’s behavior. For days, they have grossly distorted the entire point of the protest into something else entirely, insisting that those players who kneel are in fact protesting the flag itself, the national anthem, and even the men and women who have served in uniform.
On Monday, for example, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders brazenly claimed that Trump’s attack on black athletes is about “national pride in our country. And supporting those that have fought and died to defend it.” She even dared to say that his position “should be something that every American can get behind and support and celebrate.”
That is not how Hayden, who unlike the draft-dodging president actually has served in uniform, sees it.
“As a 39-year military veteran, I think I know something about the flag, the anthem, patriotism, and I think I know why we fight,” he writes. “It’s not to allow the president to divide us by wrapping himself in the national banner. I never imagined myself saying this before Friday, but if now forced to choose in this dispute, put me down with Kaepernick.”
Trump has continued his bitter, divisive, un-American tirade against NFL players for several days now, with no sign of stopping. According to Politico White House reporter Josh Dawsey, Trump even told conservatives on Monday that his fight with the NFL is “going well” and that he wants it to continue.
It is a sickening exploitation of the powerful protests against racism and police brutality, though not surprising coming from this president. Meanwhile, his feud has provoked condemnation from team owners who donated to him, from the widow of Pat Tillman, and now from a four star general.
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