Donald Trump’s game is getting weaker by the minute.
He did obtain a brief respite over the last couple of news cycles from damning coverage of his abhorrent subservience to Vladimir Putin this past week, thanks to some salacious news about recordings of Trump and Michael Cohen allegedly discussing hush money payments to cover up an affair with a Playboy model.
Now, he hopes to keep that distraction train rolling by inserting himself once again into the NFL’s discussions over the right of players to kneel during the national anthem, just ahead of the start of the football season.
After it was reported this week that the NFL and the NFL Players Association had agreed to put on hold the league’s national anthem policy announced last May pending new negotiations, Trump on Friday tweeted that he “can’t believe it!” He was referring to the fact that the debate was “alive and well again.”
“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again - can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart?” Trump tweeted. “The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”
Remember, this is coming from the guy who doesn’t even know the words to “God Bless America.”
But even putting that aside, we already knew Trump would attempt this tactic. In early June, when Trump childishly canceled a White House event with Super Bowl champs the Philadelphia Eagles—who weren’t going to attend anyway—replacing it instead with a ridiculous “Celebration of America” (where Trump butchered “God Bless America”), the Associated Press tipped everyone off that Trump would keep coming back to the issue as a distraction.
“The president told one confidant Monday [June 4] that he aims to revive the issue in the months leading up to the midterm elections, believing its return to the headlines will help Republicans win votes,” the AP reported.
It’s true, it probably will help some Republicans win votes from Trump supporters who believe a manufactured scandal over faux patriotism is more important than a real scandal over Trump’s perfidiousness.
But it won’t stop the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team and other law enforcement agencies into Russia’s election hacking in the U.S. and the Trump campaign’s (and now, Trump’s) collusion with Putin. Nice try, though.