President Trump used the power of his weekly address to further bring to light the issue of the so-called #TakeAKnee protests.
“Every day millions of American citizens raise it, salute it, and honor it on the home front. American workers hang Old Glory above factory floors where they proudly stamp their products “Made in the USA” and more and more products are being so stamped because our economy is starting to boom. We are doing really well.”
“Companies are moving back into the United States and far fewer will be moving out. Believe me. And it’s already happened. American schoolchildren put their hands on their hearts as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Before watching a football game, you want to see those players be proud of their country. Respect our country. Respect our flag. And respect our national anthem and we think they will. We certainly hope they will.”
Ever the marketer, POTUS probably recognized the weekly address as an opportunity to burnish his “brand.” His core brand is that of a culture warrior against political correctness so that’s what he went with here, given a choice between the NFL, Iran, and ObamaCare (and, er, Puerto Rico recovery and the California wildfires). And Trump famously has always understood something about politics that his slicker Republican rivals didn’t, to their detriment in the primaries last year: People like big, bold, simple ideas. No one wants to listen to Jeb Bush rattle through his 15-part tax reform plan. They want the wall. They want to bomb the sh*t out of ISIS. And they want NFL millionaires to show a little respect during the anthem. Consultant Patrick Hynes knows:
“In the 430-word memo, Goodell mentioned “fans” four times for a reason. The team owners — his bosses — are terrified of losing them. And rightly so. Last year’s slight slump in NFL television ratings is turning into a nosedive this year. Some teams are having a hard time getting enough warm bodies in the bleachers on game day. And among those that show up, a few, like Vice President Mike Pence, are walking out in disgust…”
“Trump’s rout of the NFL on this issue is in many ways the mirror image of his 2016 primary performance, when he caught so many opponents flatfooted. Republicans were badly out of touch with their base. Trump knew it and exploited the gap. And now he’s proven the same was true of the leadership of America’s dominant sport, to their great chagrin.”