Guided by their boss’s incessant odium toward kneeling football players, Republicans are increasingly seizing on the sport and NFL athletes’ protests of police brutality as a last-ditch effort to sling mud at Democrats as they fight to maintain control of the House.
Seen most pointedly in the Senate race between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, Republicans have amplified the talking point in recent weeks and, as Buzzfeed notes, it is quickly being embraced by GOPers who are facing tough Democratic challengers in districts that President Donald Trump won.
After O’Rourke asserted last month that there was “nothing more American” than NFL players using their First Amendment right to demonstrate during the playing of the national anthem, Cruz sunk his teeth in. Releasing a video of a veteran who lost both legs in Vietnam, the Cruz campaign attacked O’Rourke as unpatriotic, asking “in November, where will you stand?”
Other at-risk Republicans are taking note of the peculiar line of attack, as Trump’s swipes at the “hard to watch” NFL and the now-Colin Kaepernick aligned Nike athletics company, escalate.
Republicans hope the move will push Democrats to choose between two sides: Should they stand with kneeling athletes who are exercising their freedom of speech and protesting police brutality and racism or avoid the issue all together in order to not risk estranging undecided voters in Trump country?
Read Buzzfeed’s full report here.