Despite prematurely declaring victory in his war of words with NFL players Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump was not done harping on the issue.
During an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday, Trump criticized Colin Kaepernick, the player who protested police treatment of minorities in 2016 by kneeling during the national anthem.
“I watched Colin Kaepernick and I thought it was terrible. And then it got bigger and bigger and started mushrooming,” Trump told Hannity.
“And frankly the NFL should have suspended him for one game and he would have never done it again,” he continued. “They could have then suspended him for two games and they could have suspended him again if he did it a third time for the season, and you would never have had a problem. But I will tell you — you cannot disrespect our country, our flag, our anthem, you cannot do that.”
Trump later told Hannity that minorities “want” and “need” police protection more than others and lamented that police would be able to do stop crime in cities if “if they were allowed to do their job.” Trump claimed that police are unable to do their jobs because “they have to be politically correct.”
The President has been attacking NFL players for weeks as more and more players kneel during the national anthem before games. The league said Tuesday that it will discuss next week whether to change the rules and require players to stand during the national anthem.
Though no decision has been made, Trump praised the NFL on Twitter Wednesday morning for “finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem.”
Trump also brought up the topic during a speech on Republicans’ tax proposal in Pennsylvania.
“Do we love our American flag?” Trump asked during the speech. “I think people forgot how patriotic we are. I think people forgot how much we love our country.”
He then appeared to reference NFL players’ protests and the league’s decision to discuss a new rule.
“They’ve learned over the last week, haven’t they?” he asked.