Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Monday said that President Donald Trump will “get there” when it comes to understanding the motivation for athletes kneeling during the national anthem.
Trump has long opposed players kneeling as a form of protest, arguing that it is disrespectful to the American flag and to members of the military. But Carson, the only Black member of Trump’s executive cabinet, said he thinks Trump could change his mind when asked if he could “persuade the president that he ought not to be upset with players kneeling during the national anthem.”
“Well, I don’t think he has manifested as much animosity in that region lately. And I think we just continue to work with him. He’ll get there,” Carson said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Trump denounced kneeling during the anthem as recently as Saturday, tweeting that he would not watch NFL or U.S. national soccer team games if players kneel. He also tweeted earlier this month that kneeling during the anthem is “disrespecting our Country & our Flag.”
Carson said that the form of protest needs to be accompanied by conversation so the public understands why athletes do it, rather than assuming the athletes are being disrespectful.
“A lot of people are under the impression that they’re kneeling because they don’t respect our national anthem or they don’t respect the flag or what it stands for. And in fact, I don’t think that’s the reason that most of them are kneeling. I think most of them are kneeling because you know, they want to protest some brutality in the police forces. They need to make that very clear,” Carson said. “And of course, now that that has been brought to national attention, I’m not sure if it needs to continue.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, Jeanine Santucci