Federalist senior writer Mary Katharine Ham joined CNN’s “Inside Politics” Sunday morning to explain why Donald Trump’s insistence that NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem ought to be fired will only spur more leftists to participate in that kind of protest.
“Trump is crass in his language and he’s wrong in whether the president should be suggesting whether people get fired over expressing this,” Ham said.
The NFL is “a private company that can make that decision,” she said. “It’s not exactly a First Amendment issue, but when the president gets involved, that can chill free speech and that’s bad.”
“I’m somebody who actually agrees with Colin Kaepernick about some of these issues,” Ham explained. “But this particular protest is a divisive, controversial type of protest and people get their backs up rightfully about the flag and about the anthem.”
“During the year-long news cycle we have had about this, polling on Black Lives Matter, which is the cause he’s backing, has gone from 20 percent disapprove to 57 percent disapprove and NFL attendance has gone down,” she said. “So what Trump is doing here, and he does want more of it, he is putting the entire Left of this country and people who are against him or who criticize his policies on the wrong side of the flag and the anthem and they’re going to do it loudly and obviously.”
“And even though some of those issues are real, politically speaking, his instinct is correct here,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a good move for the country, but the instinct is correct that those people will look bad.”
Ham explained that Trump’s statements against the NFL kneelers reflects a larger grassroots movement.
“That doesn’t mean it’s going to be a huge shift, but there have been number changes for them because people are turned off by this kind of thing,” she said. “And they have an entire Saturday of college football that hopefully nobody will ruin.”