Kellyanne Conway said Wednesday that President Trump would be open to speaking with National Football League owners despite the growing controversy over the national anthem.
“This president is always open to speak to any number of people,” Mrs. Conway, senior counselor to the president, said on Fox News. “Remember, this should not be seen as a clash of personalities. This isn’t principles. This is not about politics. This is about what binds us as a nation.”
Mr. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he had spoken with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who kneeled with his team prior to the national anthem at Monday’s game, and that the players will stand for the national anthem in future games.
After Mr. Trump called out anyone who kneeled during the national anthem a “son of a bitch” at a rally in Alabama on Friday, NFL teams over the weekend either kneeled or remained in their locker rooms during the anthem in a sign of solidarity and protest of the president’s comments. Mr. Trump continued to tweet about the issue into the weekend with lawmakers having mixed reaction to the debate.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions weighed in saying that as a matter of “propriety” teams should stand for the anthem.
“I believe that every American, as a matter of proprietary and love of country, should not place their political views in a situation where you don’t stand for the pledge or the national anthem. Everybody should do that. The president is exactly right to say no matter what you think of Hillary Clinton or President Trump, you should stand when the national anthem is payed,” Mr. Sessions said on Fox News on Wednesday.
Teams say they’re continuing to struggle with the issue heading into this weekend’s games. Players like Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who stayed in the locker room during the national anthem last week, said that he wishes the team had handled it differently. He did say that for this week’s game he and his teammates want to be on the field.