Vice President Mike Pence’s NFL publicity stunt might have cost taxpayers upwards of $200,000, but it was free marketing for the Trump campaign. So, true to form, less than a day after Pence advertised his outrage over NFL protests and left the 49ers—Colts game, the campaign seized his hollow show of “patriotism” as a fundraising opportunity.
CNN’s Jake Tapper posted a screenshot of the campaign email soliciting donations on Monday afternoon. “Yesterday members of the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during our National Anthem. Their stunt showed the world that they don’t believe our flag is worth standing for,” the email read.
“But your Vice President REFUSED to dignify their disrespect for our anthem, our flag, and the many brave soldiers who have died for their freedoms,” continued the email. “But immediately after the Vice President’s honorable display of leadership and patriotism, the Fake News Media relentless ATTACKED him.”
So, let’s recap. Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem more than a year ago to protest institutional racism, police brutality, racial injustice, and inequality. Fast forward a year, Kaepernick is out of a job because of his protest, and despite this fact, is still targeted by President Trump. Then Trump took on the whole league by labeling any player who knelt as a “son of a bitch.”
Now, Trump has exploited both Pence’s staged “protest” and the NFL players protest of systematic racism to fill his campaign coffers. Seems about right.