President Donald Trump obviously found a snappy new applause line when he gave a speech in Alabama on Sept. 22. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” Trump riffed, “When somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired!’ ”
It went over as Trump hoped, delighting his hardcore supporters, so now we are having a national moment of flagomania. Trump is hitting the theme hard, with at least 21 tweets or retweets, so far, deriding pro athletes who kneel during the national anthem as a form of protest. NFL watchers seem to be talking more about kneeling than touchdowns or game scores. As Trump himself has eagerly pointed out, the NFL’s TV ratings are down and booing of kneelers at stadiums is up.
How Trump is losing
But Trump isn’t winning. In fact, he’s losing, and this is going to become more and more apparent as his crusade against kneelers progresses. Within a few weeks, it will almost certainly peter out.