United States President Donald Trump stood proudly with his hand over his heart, while mouthing the words to the National Anthem at the White House on Tuesday afternoon. It was the kind of kickoff he wanted for the “Celebration of America” event, which replaced the canceled Philadelphia Eagles championship event.
On Monday night, President Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House, who were supposed to be honored for their victory on Tuesday.
The White House released a statement from the President later in the night, explaining how Eagles players disagree with his stance on standing for the National Anthem, hence the rescinded invite.
Trump explained why it is important to stand for the National Anthem and then veered off to talking about the economy in front of the Celebration of America crowd.
“We love our country. We respect our flag and we always proudly stand for the national anthem. We will always stand for the national anthem.”
“We stand to honor our military and to honor our country and to remember the fallen heroes who never made it home,” President Trump continued. “We stand to show our love for our fellow citizens and our magnificent Constitution. We stand to pay tribute to the incredible Americans who came before us and the heroic sacrifices they made.”
Earlier in the day, the White House sent out another statement reiterating the President’s stance and blaming the Eagles for abandoning their fans.
According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, the Eagles notified the White House on Thursday, May 31, that 81 individuals within the organization would be attending the celebration.
However, things reportedly changed late Friday, with the Eagles contacting the White House to try to reschedule the event. But according to Sanders, the dates that the Eagles proposed did not work in line with the President’s overseas travel plans.
Then at Tuesday’s press briefing, Sanders made the claim that by Eagles changing their commitment at the last minute, they pulled a “political stunt.”
“The Eagles are the ones who tried to change their commitment at the eleventh hour,” she said per CNN. “If this wasn’t a political stunt by the Eagles franchise, then they wouldn’t have planned to attend the event and then backed out at the last minute.”
This is just the latest installation of Trump vs. the NFL saga, where he has interjected himself into the National Anthem protests conversation.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who was one of the four known players to originally say that he would not attend the celebration and demonstrated peacefully during the regular season, responded to the White House’s statement on Twitter.
Jenkins wrote about all the work he and his teammates have done in the community, that no one on the team knelt during the 2017 season, and pointed out how it is a “lie” to paint Eagles players as “anti-America, anti-flag, and anti-military.”
“We’ve fed the hungry, we’ve mentored our youth, we’ve fought to create opportunities for communities and individuals who have been disenfranchised, we’ve given scholarships, and the list goes on,” he said.
“It’s not our job. No one elected us to do this. We do it because we love this country and our communities. Everyone, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, deserves to be treated equally. We are fighting for racial and social equality.”