We’ve Got To Talk About the President’s Phony Patriotic Displays

I’m not going to say that Donald Trump doesn’t love his country. I’ve seen the president baselessly make that same claim of enough other people to be certain it’s a despicable thing to do. I will say that his ostentatious displays of patriotism read pretty plainly as disingenuous ploys.

Case in point: Tuesday’s hasty “Celebration of America” event on the White House lawn was seven minutes of waving the flag in lieu of waving a middle finger at his rivals. Even his supporters would have to admit that the ceremony felt hyper-partisan and did nothing to unite Americans behind a mutual respect for their country.

The whole shindig came about because the president’s ego was bruised when the learned that five or fewer of the players on the champion Philadelphia Eagles team decided not to attend the traditional visit to the White House. Trump then tried to save face publicly by “disinviting” the whole team, claiming that he couldn’t support a team with players who don’t stand for the national anthem.

However you feel about NFL players who kneel, the fact of the matter is that no Eagle players engaged in that form of protest. It may be a popular talking point at Trump’s rallies, but the Eagles always stood for the song. If it were bad enough to vilify people for peacefully calling for civil and human rights, now Trump is vilifying people who aren’t even participating in it.

Surely Trump’s supporters should take issue with the idea that a man who claims to have more love for his country than just about everybody else doesn’t have a grasp on the fact that it’s a free speech issue. When a reporter asked a question to this effect, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded:

“The president doesn’t think this is an issue simply of free speech. He thinks it’s about respecting the men and women of our military. It’s about respecting our national anthem.”

Is it really respectful, though, to use these symbols for personal gain? Sanders also accused the Eagles of turning this incident into a “stunt,” but nothing was more stunt-ish than Trump hosting a supposedly patriotic session to save face and appeal to his base.

I mean, come on, Trump didn’t even know half the words to “God Bless America” during this event. In the past, he’s struggled with the lyrics to the national anthem and had to be reminded to put his hand over his heart during the song. I’ve got way bigger gripes about the president than these examples, but if he’s going to hold himself up as a paragon of patriotism, he better be prepared to demonstrate that in the most basic of ways!

The point that Trump is intentionally trying to obfuscate is that players can both love their country and oppose police brutality; when people taking a knee say they’re doing it because black lives matter and the president insists it’s because they have no respect for the military, he’s the one trashing on American ideals.

You know, Trump may very well love his country – specifically a country with regressive values that turns a blind eye to the suffering of African Americans, just as it has for centuries. Still, let’s not pretend that people calling for a better, more just country are any less patriotic for pointing out its problems. After all, Trump’s the one who yammers on about wanting to make the country great.

There’s nothing patriotic about co-opting the flag and using sentiments of those serving in the military to fit your personal partisan agenda. It’s become so blatant that even Trump’s cheerleaders have to notice that he uses phony patriotic resolve to distract from the fact he lacks a compelling argument – they’re just choosing to play along because they’re fine with the country the way it is, too.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

thanks for posting

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill5 months ago

I think it was very rude for the team not to go to the WH! This has been a tradition for decades, through many presidents. The President is a very busy man. If he can make time to meet, it’s only polite for you to do the same,

Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman6 months ago

Trump cares only about one thing, HIMSELF. His actions show that daily, we all must pray that America can survive till he is GONE, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

Rachel -
Past Member 7 months ago

Yeah well if posters hadn’t slammed Trump for avoiding the Vietnam draft, I wouldn't have to go off topic, would I Rhoberta? Patriotism isn't about turning around and taking it up the you-know-where from the government when it's in the wrong. In fact that's the antithesis of patriotism. The left used to know this.

As for your claim "All you do is witch about those who dislike a slimeball like trump." Bullshyte. Unlike you, I seldom even address individuals. If they hate on him for legit reasons, you never see me bitch. And you never see me launch ad hominems.

Rhoberta, I know your country is Canada. I like Canada. But how is whatever happened with his feet 50 years ago in the US ever going to affect Canada??! And if I'm so irrelevant to you, then why are you QUOTING ME? Come on now....

Mary B
Mary B7 months ago

I,m glad there are many here who actually 'get it' that kneeling is a protest of the police brutality, and it has nothing to do with flags, anthems or being patriotic. It must be tough being a Trump supporter these days when you can't even comprehend the simplest of gestures, so you have to turn it into something else to try and make yourself look like a decent person. We are NOT fooled or intimidated.

Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E7 months ago

Rachel -
He is as relevant to me as YOU are !!! All you do is witch about those who dislike a slimeball like trump. So the answer to you is , Neither of you are relevant OR important in the scheme of things UNTIL what you do has an effect on me OR my country.
You have a special day :-)
BTW, the topic of this article was "phony patriotic displays"
Next time you're talking to him, be sure to ask him how quickly his bone spurs healed as HE'S whining about kneeling at a football game

Rachel -
Past Member 7 months ago

"his 'Make America Great Again' hats were made in China?"
Uh no Susanne R, Trump official hats are MADE IN THE USA. The hats you bought where from a third party vendor, which you should know because you ordered them. Instead of concocting irrational ways to bash the President, why don't you try supporting him in attempting to revive the steel and auto industries in the US. Not everyone has money to waste on jokes like you do because, while unemployment is now at a record low, some Americans still don't have jobs. Or, if you can't do that, why don't you visit Trump official website and purchase more hats to throw away or burn so you can at least support the US factory workers who made them.

Rachel -
Past Member 7 months ago

"'A LOT of men faked infirmities ..........'
Like trump did ??"
I wouldn't know Rhoberta, but let's assume he did. Now why don't you tell us exactly where that puts him on your shit list among millions of American men who by various means avoided risking their health and lives fighting a war RFK very convincingly explained was UNWINNABLE. The judgment of a Canadian female a half century after the fact must be relevant to someone.


David F
David F7 months ago

The incredible success and speed that President Trump has achieved has the socialist liberals in a complete panic. Fake news victims abound.

Susanne R
Susanne R7 months ago

Gary Wells: I received three MAGA hats in the mail yesterday, which I ordered from eBay for 99 cents each. If you'd like one of them, please let me know. It's yours for the asking. I tried to give them away as a joke, but no-one wanted them. My grandson has "funny hat day" at school once a month, and even he didn't think the hat or trump were funny --and he's 10 years old! They were made in China and sent from China, trump's manufacturer of choice. See the irony here: his "Make America Great Again" hats were made in China? He was making a fool of everyone who wore one! My husband asked me to throw them out. My daughter preferred that I burn them. The offer stands...