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Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump kicked the wrong hornet’s nest by calling for NFL owners to fire the “son of a bitch” players who dare take a knee during the national anthem. (That’s on top of the separate firestorm he caused by going into battle against NBA greats LeBron James and Steph Curry.)

Now it’s Monday and, having found the absolute perfect pet issue to devote all his time and energy to while Republicans try to resurrect their dead-on-arrival bill to take away your healthcare, the president is still tweeting about the gall of those NFL players, after widespread protests during the national anthem on Sunday.

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Coming out so strongly on a classic Culture Wars issue, which is beginning to feel as perennial as the so-called War on Christmas, is the most Trumpian thing possible in this situation. Trump voters, weary of POLITICS getting in the way of their FOOTBALL, want uppity NFL players like Colin Kaepernick—who was basically fired for taking a stand with his protests—to shut up and play ball, and the whole dust-up combines two of Trump’s favorite things: watching TV and talking about ratings.

And, because the vast majority of the NFL’s players are black, Trump going to war with the league’s players also carries a dog-whistle racism appeal for his worst supporters.

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It’s not yet clear if Americans are going to side with some of the the greatest athletes of all times of their “bum” president, but it’ll be an interesting litmus test in the days ahead.

WHAT ELSE?

  • Remember tax reform? It’s back, and it’s a tax cut for the rich, Axios reported.
  • The situation in Puerto Rico, which was decimated in Hurricane Maria, remains dire.

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