President Trump said Wednesday it’s “about time” after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to teams calling on players to "honor our flag" and stand for the national anthem.
“It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem – RESPECT OUR COUNTRY,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday.
The president’s comments come a day after Goodell sent a memo to NFL executives and club presidents, aiming to move past the weeks-long feud between the White House and NFL players who have kneeled or otherwise protested during the national anthem at the start of NFL games.
“We live in a country that can feel very divided. Sports, and especially the NFL, brings people together and lets them set aside those divisions, at least for a few hours,” Goodell wrote. “The current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.”
Goodell added: “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”
He noted that the NFL “cares deeply” about players and “respect” their “opinions and concerns about critical social issues.”
“The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues,” Goodell wrote. “We need to move past this controversy and we want to do that together with our players.”
Goodell and NFL team owners will meet in New York City next week for their annual fall meeting, where the protests will apparently be discussed.
"There has been no change in the current policy regarding the anthem. The agenda will be a continuation of how to make progress on the important social issues that players have vocalized. Everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military, and we are coming together to deal with these issues in a civil and constructive way," the league said in a joint statement with the NFL Players Association.
Vice President Pence got involved in the feud last weekend, when he traveled to his home state of Indiana to attend the Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers game on Sunday. The vice president left the game when players did not stand for the anthem.
Trump on Wednesday also slammed “fake news” and Democrats, ahead of his tax reform speech in Middletown, Pa., Wednesday evening.
“It would be really nice if the Fake News Media would report the virtually unprecedented Stock Market growth since the election. Need tax cuts,” Trump tweeted.
Moments later, he added: “The Democrats want MASSIVE tax increases & soft, crime producing borders. The Republicans want the biggest tax cut in history & the WALL!”
Last month, Republicans rolled out their tax plan framework, which Trump said would "fuel America's economic comeback."
Earlier Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the “Stock Market has increased by 5.2 Trillion dollars since the election on November 8th, a 25% increase. Lowest unemployment in 16 years and if Congress gives us the massive tax cuts (and reform) I am asking for, those numbers will grow by leaps and bounds. #MAGA.”