'This has nothing to do with race' – President Trump defends his criticism of kneeling NFL players

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Associated Press

US President Donald Trump, today, said his objection to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race".

President Trump has denied his criticism of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem has anything to do with race issues.
Source: Associated Press

Instead, Trump said it has to do with "respect for our country and respect for our flag".

The president made these comments during an impromptu news conference in Morristown, New Jersey, as he boarded Air Force One to return to Washington.

Trump said "our soldiers, our first responders" should be treated with respect.

Trump said on Saturday, at a rally in Alabama, that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the anthem.

NFL players and owners around the league condemned his statement, and more than a hundred players sat, knelt or raised their fists in defiance.

But Trump reiterated on the tarmac today that NFL owners "should do something" about the protests.

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