Amid recent protests across the country, a new trend has emerged in which activists demand that others — be they civilians, police officers, or soldiers — take a knee, ostensibly in solidarity with demonstrators.
President Donald Trump has long decried the “take a knee” movement that began with ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed to reporters on Monday that he remains opposed to the concept, the Washington Examiner reported.
Numerous images have emerged over the past week or so of Black Lives Matters activists urging other protesters, political leaders, police officers, and even National Guard soldiers to take a knee along with the rest of the demonstrators.
While some may see no problem, others will recall that the whole “take a knee” trend began with Kaepernick and — despite revisionist history from activists and the media — was a statement in protest of this country, the military and police who defend it, and the American flag itself, as the gestures themselves occurred during the National Anthem.
Trump “not a fan” of kneeling
President Trump, along with millions of other Americans, hasn’t forgotten or forgiven such a blatant show of disrespect. Thus, when McEnany was asked by a reporter during Monday’s daily briefing about NFL players — and presumably others — taking a knee to protest police brutality, or any other issue, she let it be known that Trump’s opinion hasn’t changed.
“The President is very much against kneeling in general,” McEnany said, adding:
The President has made clear for years that kneeling is tied to our National Anthem, that it does not respect our military men and women across this country. He’s not a fan of the kneeling movement. He’s made that very clear, particularly because he thinks it’s disrespectful to our military, as the kneeling originated at the kneeling during the National Anthem.
Pressed on the issue, McEnany reiterated the president’s opposition to kneeling in a broad sense and, with regard to the NFL, pointed to a Trump tweet from just one day prior.
“Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?” the president tweeted on Sunday.
On Friday, and in reference to backlash against New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees over a statement he made in opposition to kneeling during the anthem, Trump tweeted, in part:
We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag — NO KNEELING!
Won’t support defunding
Aside from expressing Trump’s opposition to kneeling in general an act of protest, McEnany also repeatedly noted the president’s staunch opposition to the other trend that has emerged in recent days from Black Lives Matter activists, namely the demand that cities and states “defund the police.”
It was made abundantly clear, both by the press secretary and president himself in public statements and tweets, that he will have no part in any effort to cut funding for police departments or, worse, abolish them altogether. Rather, the president believes that necessary and overdue policing reforms can be achieved in other ways.
It will be interesting to see if the media and the activist left, but I repeat myself, will continue to press the kneeling issue and the “defund the police” narrative, or if they will realize both are losing issues in the eyes of most Americans.