President Trump has suggested that National Football League players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the national anthem before major games. Republicans agree with Mr. Trump according to a Cato Institute poll released on Monday. It found that 65 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of conservatives say the players should be let go for “taking a knee” — an act, the players say, meant to draw attention to police brutality and racism.
The partisan divide is evident: only 19 percent of Democrats would agree the players should lose their jobs — along with 43 percent of whites, 38 percent of Latinos, 38 percent of all Americans, 38 percent of Libertarians, 35 percent of independents, 15 percent of liberals and 12 percent of African Americans.
“Not wanting to fire NFL players because of their political speech doesn’t mean that most Americans agree with the content of this speech. Surveys have long shown, as well as this one, that most oppose burning, desecrating, or disrespecting the American flag. Thus, Americans appear to make a distinction between allowing a person to express (even controversial) political opinions and endorsing the content of their speech. The public can be tolerant of players’ refusing to stand for the national anthem, even while many disagree with what the players are doing,” writes poll analyst Emily Ekins. “In sum, Americans don’t want to strip people of their livelihoods and ruin their careers over refusing to stand for the national anthem. Even if they don’t agree with the content of the speech, that doesn’t mean they support punishing people who do.”
A recent Reuters poll had similar findings, revealing that while 72 percent of Americans said ignoring the anthem was unpatriotic, 64 percent also said that those who chose to do so “had the right to protest under the U.S. Constitution.”
RUSH LIMBAUGH MOURNS A POLITICIZED NFL
The NFL players who have taken issue with the national anthem have drawn a variety of responses from Americans. Some fans are puzzled, some fiercely sympathetic, some vexed, some neutral. And some fans are just plain melancholy.
“I was personally saddened. I did not watch the National Football League on Sunday, and it was the first time in 45 years that I made an active decision not to watch, including my team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was not a decision made in anger. It was genuine sadness. I realized that I can no longer look at this game and watch this game and study this game and pretend, fantasize — everything a fan does. This whole thing has removed for me the ingredients that are in the recipe that make up a fan,” Rush Limbaugh told his audience Monday.
“The mystique is gone. That actually started vanishing a while ago. The larger-than-life aspect of it is gone. The belief, the wish, the desire that the people in the game were the best and brightest and special, and that’s why they were there, that’s gone. And it’s been politicized. It has been politicized and corrupted, and it didn’t start this weekend. It started years ago.
FOR THE LEXICON
It was inevitable. This is a Twitter hashtag, which now joins #TakeaKnee, #TaketheKnee and #ImwithKap as a major social media reference for the NFL patriotism question. “Kap” refers to Colin Kaepernick, the former Super Bowl quarterback who originated the idea of kneeling during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
#StandForOurAnthem initially appeared on Twitter in late August, was endorsed by President Trump on Monday, and quickly went into vigorous use.
THAT OUGHT TO CLEAR IT UP
Ever patient White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked the following question on Monday afternoon during the daily press briefing:
“North Korea’s foreign minister said that President Trump had declared war on North Korea and that it reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down U.S. aircraft. Does the White House view President Trump’s comments at the U.N. as a declaration of war?”
“Not at all,” Mrs. Sanders replied. “We’ve not declared war on North Korea. And frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd.”
AMERICAN SPECTATOR AT 50
A party of note for Tuesday. That would be the 50th anniversary dinner gala for The American Spectator, to be staged at the spectacular Trump International Hotel just four blocks from the White House, already deemed the “gathering spot for prominent conservatives” by The New York Times. It will be, organizers promise “a night of remembrance and revelry.”
Among those on hand for the big doings: Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican and chairman of the House Freedom Caucus; R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. founder and editor-in-chief of the American Spectator; Fox News host Greg Gutfeld, actor and columnist Ben Stein; Heritage Foundation founder Edwin Feulner and Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist.
The menu for the evening is a well-guarded secret, but suffice it to say that the Trump hotel is famous for fabulous steaks and some historically-minded libations such as the The Benjamin — named for Benjamin Franklin — which combines rye vodka, potato vodka, wheat vodka, raw oysters and caviar. President Trump will not be with the group however. He will be in midtown Manhattan for a low-key fundraiser at a splendid French restaurant, where it is said he favors the Dover sole.
POLL DU JOUR
• 60 percent of Americans say Democratic congressional leaders are doing “too little” to compromise with President Trump; 82 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats agree.
• 56 percent overall say Mr. Trump is doing “too little” to compromise with Democrats; 29 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 79 percent of Democrats agree.
• 30 percent overall say Mr. Trump is doing “the right amount” to compromise; 63 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.
• 26 percent overall say Democratic congressional leaders are doing “the right amount” to compromise; 9 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree.
• 8 percent overall say the Democrats are doing “too much” to compromise; 6 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.
• 8 percent overall say Mr. Trump is doing “too much” to compromise; 6 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,002 U.S. adults conduced September 18-21
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin