Donald Trump thinks NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are “disrespecting” the flag. He also thinks they’re “disrespecting” America’s armed forces. And most importantly – for him anyway – he thinks they’re “disrespecting” Donald Trump.
Let’s just be clear: none of that is true. Taking the knee was a gesture to protest police brutality. Just ask Eric Reid, who quite literally started the whole movement alongside then-teammate Colin Kaepernick. “It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel, Reid wrote, in a recent Op-Ed for The New York Times, adding that he and Kaepernick “chose it because it’s exactly the opposite.”
See as it turns out, Reid and Kaepernick actually consulted with Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former N.F.L. player about the protests. Of course Trump won’t tell you that part. Here’s the actual picture Boyer posted on Twitter after that consultation:
Thanks for the invite brother… Good talk. Let's just keep moving forward. This is what America should be all about pic.twitter.com/LgjPpjk173
— Nate Boyer (@NateBoyer37) September 2, 2016
And here’s the quote from Boyer:
We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammate. Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect.
Additionally, this was never about Trump. It started before Trump was President. Trump made it about Trump. He practically branded the whole thing like he would one of his buildings. Then, in the final insult to America, he staged a $250,000 publicity stunt (paid for by taxpayers) involving Mike Pence and then turned around less than 24 hours later and used that same publicity stunt to fleece those same taxpayers out of $5 more dollars.
Trump has tweeted the word “respect” about two dozen times over the past several weeks. Here’s the list:
Note that every one of those tweets is about the NFL except three. Of those three exceptions, two are about Las Vegas and the other one is about a book someone wrote about him.
Ok, so on Wednesday night, we got a glimpse at how little Trump actually knows about “respecting” the flag and soldiers. Watch this clip:
“Are they playing that for you or for me?,” he asks Sean Hannity (as if anyone other than the people in charge of playing dramatic lead-ins for Fox News would ever play a song for Sean Hannity).
Well as it turns out, they weren’t playing that for Trump or Hannity. Because that’s “Retreat,” part of “Reveille, retreat and taps.” Here’s how this works:
Reveille is played as a bugle call to signal the beginning of the duty day on base. Retreat is played to mark the end of the duty day. Taps is played to mark the start of quiet hours on base, which is 9 p.m.a military tradition that dates prior to the Revolutionary War.
But wait, you haven’t even heard the punchline. Here’s the official protocol for “Retreat”:
At the first sound of the retreat bugle call, all personnel outdoors should stop and face the flag, or when not visible, in the direction the music is played. If in uniform, protocol is to stand at parade rest. If not wearing a uniform or a civilian, protocol is to stop and face the flag or music only.
Right. “protocol” for those who want to show “respect” for the flag and the military “is to stop and face the flag.”
Or to suggest it’s being played in honor of Sean Hannity’s ratings. Either or.