As she defended President Donald Trump’s continued attacks on players in the NFL who are protesting by kneeling during the national anthem, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders disagreed with a reporter asking for a clarification, saying she thought the issue was “pretty black and white.”
It’s fairly clear Sanders was referring to the common expression used to call something straightforward and easily understood. But there’s a rich irony of her using that phrase in particular, considering the NFL—which Trump has put squarely in his crosshairs in the past week—is around 70 percent Black and the entire protest began when former Quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem to protest police brutality against people of color in 2016.
Sanders made the remark when a reporter asked what the president anticipated this weekend as more players are expected to protest in light of Trump’s continued attacks against the NFL.
“I think the president’s made very clear this shouldn’t be about the NFL being against the president; this should be about our country coming together to support the flag, support the national anthem,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with having pride in the United States. This president’s been very clear on that, and he’s certainly not going to back away from it.”
When pressed by April D. Ryan, a reporter for American Urban Radio Networks, that the players say the protests aren’t anti-patriotic, but rather a “challenging the system,” Sanders continued to defend the president’s remarks.
“I think if we’re going to look at history, we should look at the thousands of Americans who have given their life to protect that flag, to protect that anthem,” Sanders said. “We should be celebrating those people… We should be looking at every way we can to celebrate our country, bring it together, not looking at ways to divide it.”
When asked for clarification, Sanders interrupted Ryan.
“I don’t think there was much to clarify; it was pretty black and white there,” she said. Watch the full exchange below.
Trump’s fixation on players kneeling during the national anthem reached a high point last week when he not-so-subtly called out Kaepernick, who began protesting during the national anthem last year, as a “son of a bitch.”
Since then Trump has continued to tweet about the NFL and speak about it during public events, urging the league to “fire or suspend” players who protest. He later added that his disapproval of the kneeling had “nothing to do with race,” despite the genesis of Kaepernick’s original protests.
People on Twitter did not miss the irony of Sanders’ “black and white” remarks.
— Roni🌊🌊 (@NSNCFic) September 28, 2017