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NFL players are protesting systemic racism. Trump wants to solve it with pardons.
For months, President Donald Trump has waged an all-out offensive against the NFL, arguing that football players who kneel in protest during the national anthem are disrespectful and unpatriotic.
Trump regularly accuses the players — who have engaged in a two-season protest against racial injustice — of insulting the flag, the military, and America itself.
But the president’s tone changed slightly last week when he told reporters on June 8 that he wanted to work with those same NFL players, albeit on one issue: presidential pardons.
“I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that’s what they’re protesting — people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system,” Trump said. “I’m going to take a look at those applications. And if I find, and my committee finds that they are unfairly treated, then we will pardon them or at least let them out (of prison).”
President Trump says NFL players protesting racial injustice don't have "a real issue" https://t.co/OhWsIAv6U7 pic.twitter.com/QU1DXuJw86
— CNN (@CNN) June 15, 2018
It was a surprising departure from his normal rhetoric about the NFL players’ protests. It was also incredibly short-lived. On Friday, one week later, the president commented on the protests again, saying that no NFL players had offered pardon suggestions — and that he didn’t think they were protesting for a real cause.
”They’re saying people are aggrieved. Okay. Let me know about it. I’ll look at it. If they’re aggrieved, I’ll pardon them. I’ll get them out,” Trump said during an impromptu interview with Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy. “Maybe they’ve called the staff. But I have not personally heard from one. Because I don’t know if it’s a real issue. I don’t think it’s a real issue.”