If President Trump wanted to stop people from peacefully protesting during the national anthem, he has failed. His feud with NFL players and other athletes over whether it's "patriotic" to kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner" has now spread to Congress.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas joined in the protest Monday night on the House floor, when she kneeled after using a special order of the Congressional Black Caucus to criticize Trump's actions. "I refuse to accept [Trump's comments] as a standard of leadership for the highest office in the world," she said.
Trump started the controversy Friday night by seemingly referencing Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49er who protested police brutality and racial injustice all of last season by kneeling during the national anthem. The president asked whether the crowd at an Alabama rally would "love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired’?"
On Monday night, Jackson Lee emphasized that kneeling during the national anthem or in front of the flag is protected under the First Amendment. She also said that insulting the athletes and their mothers by calling any of them a "son of a bitch" was racist.
"You cannot deny it, you cannot run for it," she said, as she dropped to one knee. "I kneel in front of the flag and on this floor. I kneel in honor of the First Amendment. I kneel because the flag is a symbol for freedom. I kneel because I am going to stand against racism, I kneel because I will stand with those young men, and I’ll stand with our soldiers, and I’ll stand with America because I kneel."