A couple of days after San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback made national headlines over his refusal to stand for the national anthem, later citing America’s treatment of minorities as his reason, Donald Trump decided to weigh in on the controversy. The GOP nominee called in to a Seattle radio show Monday afternoon and delivered a hot take right out of a 1980s Chuck Norris movie.
“I have followed it and I think it’s personally not a good thing. I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it’s not gonna happen.”
Yep. It was the whole ‘Love It Or Leave It’ mantra you’ve heard for decades from red-blooded, flag-waving, God-fearing patriots anytime someone criticized the good ol’ U. S. of A. This hit its peak in the aftermath of 9/11 and in the run-up to the Iraq War, which is kinda how we got ourselves ensnared in the quagmire in the first place.
However, what is especially striking about Trump’s comments here is that his entire message during his run for the White House is that America sucks right now. It is the worst. It’s in the shitter. And the only person that can make it great again is yours truly. Yet, here’s someone else saying America needs to do better, that it is broken, and Trump responds by sounding like a Dubya acolyte. That is just an extraordinary lack of self-awareness, even for Trump.
Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky had the following to say about Trump’s remarks:
Trump’s entire campaign is based around the idea that America is stumbling, or broken, or fundamentally subpar in some way—“Make America great again” and all that. His response to someone else who believes America needs to fix things is to tell him to look for another country. Incredible.
I’m reminded that “if you don’t like it, get out” was a common rejoinder to political protests of the Bush era—as if America were perfect, and supporting it means never acknowledging its faults, and if you want to call attention to its shortcomings and work to make it better, you must not truly love it. That refrain seemed to have thankfully disappeared from top-level political discourse. God bless Donald Trump for never failing to disappoint with the takes.
Beyond Trump aping the kind of neocon rhetoric that is antithetical to his core message, it also seems like he’s forgotten that he’s trying to at least pretend to reach out to the black community lately. You’d think he’d at least try to come up with some spinnable bullshit, maybe something along the lines of ‘not agreeing with him but agreeing with his right to say it.’ But, alas, this is par for the course. He just can’t help who he is.