Hillary Clinton says it is 'quite telling' Trump is attacking black athletes and not white supremacists

The President has condemned players for kneeling during the national anthem 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Tuesday 26 September 2017 15:41 BST
Hillary Clinton: 'It's telling that Trump attacks black athletes but says nothing on neo-Nazis'

Hillary Clinton has said “it’s quite telling” that Donald Trump is “willing to attack black athletes” and not white supremacists, weighing in on the US President’s suggestion that players who take a knee during the national anthem should be fired.

“He attacks black athletes as he did starting with his rally in Alabama. Continued on Twitter. And he attacks them for protesting peacefully for equality, for standing up for what they believe,” Ms Clinton said in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

“And he does it once again to dog whistle to his base and to try to detract attention from other things that are going on,” she continued. “But it's quite telling that he is willing to attack black athletes. He never says anything of an insulting manner towards white supremacists or neo-Nazis or Ku Klux Klaners or Vladimir Putin, right?”

Mr Trump’s controversial comments in Alabama sparked a wave of football protests on Sunday, with many NFL players across the US and in London kneeling during the national anthem.

Colin Kaepernick, formerly a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began the movement last year to highlight police brutality and racial injustice. About three-quarters of NFL players are black.

While Mr Trump has been quick to condemn such protests by athletes, he was criticised last month for his delay in equivocally denouncing members of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis after violence broke out following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The President proceeded to claim that there were “bad” people on both sides in Charlottesville – including the white nationalists and protesters who opposed them – raising new questions as to how his administration will be viewed over race relations.

During a press gaggle following several of the NFL players’ demonstrations on Sunday, Mr Trump said kneeling during the anthem was “disrespectful to our flag and to our country”, adding that team owners “should do something about it.”

“We have great people representing our country, especially our soldiers, our first responders, and they should be treated with respect,” Mr Trump said. “And when you get on your knee and you don't respect the American flag or the anthem, that's not being treated with respect.”

Mr Trump said comments had “nothing to do with race”.

“I've never said anything about race,” Mr Trump said, responding to a question about whether he was inflaming racial tensions. “This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country, and respect for our flag.”

On Tuesday, Mr Trump continued to comment on the players' protests, suggesting that the NFL's TV ratings are down, “except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected!”

“The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations,” the President said in another tweet. “The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can't kneel during our National Anthem!”

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