The pope of white identity politics and the wokest man in sports, beer-summitting over Black Lives Matter and whether or not to stand for the national anthem? Best crossover since “Infinity War.”
Kaepernick should wear his Malcolm X shirt to make things extra zesty.
The irony is that Trump, although the politician of the two, has more freedom politically to make this happen than Kaepernick does.
President Donald Trump has given the green light to multiple meetings with athletes and musical artists to discuss race, Cleveland-based pastor Darrell Scott, an outside adviser to the White House adviser, tells PEOPLE…
Kanye West, who recently had a Twitter love-fest with Trump, has been invited, says Scott, along with former NFL star Colin Kaepernick and other athletes and musicians of multiple races and ethnicities…
Scott expects Trump will be in attendance. “We don’t want to sanitize it. I want people from the left to attend. I want it to get heated but I want it to be respectful,” says Scott.
“I want them to see and know the Donald Trump I know and they will say, ‘This guy isn’t who I’ve been lead to believe he is.’”
“He is 100 percent for it,” Scott told People magazine of Trump. “He was very enthusiastic about it.” Yeah? POTUS has been known to block qualified people from important jobs in his administration just for having criticized him during the campaign. How many of them said something about him as harsh as this after a debate with Hillary in 2016? “To me, it was embarrassing to watch; that these are our two candidates… Both are proven liars and it almost seems like they’re trying to debate who’s less racist…. You have to pick the lesser of two evils, but in the end, it’s still evil.” In another interview Kaepernick called Trump “openly racist.”
“I think it’s a terrible thing,” Trump said of Kaepernick’s anthem protests in August 2016. “And maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try. It won’t happen.” Where’s the common ground that’s going to be found at the summit between “you’re evil” and “get the f*** out of my country”?
I’d watch the hell out of it if they put it live on cable news, though.
Seriously, though, the summit would be perfectly placid on Trump’s end. When have you ever seen him get in someone’s face when they’re right in front of him? He’s famous for telling people “you’re fired” on “The Apprentice” but in reality he hates confrontation. (Fortunately for Jeff Sessions, or else he’d have been fired a year ago.) Even at the GOP primary debates, Trump took more shots than he dished out. If Kaepernick or anyone else got nasty with him at a “race summit,” he’d sit there sullenly while they ranted and then go off on them at a rally or on Twitter later. And if they were cordial, he’d be cordial back. To POTUS, the ultimate test of character is how friendly you are to him personally. It’s almost unimaginable that his view of Kaepernick wouldn’t change if Kaep gladhanded him.
But as I say, Trump could get away with attending — and no matter what ended up happening, he’d walk away unscathed. If the summit went surprisingly well his base would cheer him for having behaved presidentially and showed some nerve in facing his critics. It’d be another Trump diplomatic win. If it didn’t go well and someone attacked him, it’d be taken as proof that the left can’t shake hands even when a hand is offered. “Kim Jong Un was more willing to come to the table than Colin Kaepernick!” etc etc. He might even get credit from centrist Democrats for having made the gesture at all. To some extent he can’t lose.
Kaepernick can lose. Unlike Trump’s constituents, his constituents are more loyal to a set of principles than they are to the man himself. He’d be facing basically the same situation as a comic invited to be the guest at the White House Correspondents Dinner when the president’s Republican: If you’re going to attend, you’d better bring a rhetorical knife and you’d better use it. if you don’t you’ll be attacked as a coward and a sellout later. If Kaepernick shows up and hands Trump a photo op, he’d have to extract some truth-to-power value for Trump’s critics by getting rough with POTUS during the dialogue. Otherwise he’ll damage his own woke credibility, and what does he have left besides that?
I don’t think he’ll attend, though. “Colin isn’t doing any media at this time,” said his rep to HuffPost when they inquired about the White House invite. If he did, though, and things went … maybe not “well” but as well as one could hope for, it might make NFL teams who are reluctant to sign him feel comfortable enough to roll the dice on him. They’re worried that putting him on the roster might lead to a boycott from right-wing fans; a cordial photo op with Trump could defuse that risk. For Kaepernick it’s a question of whether he wants to dilute his credibility as an activist to improve his chances of playing again. Probably not, I’d guess.