Republican congressman to Trump: Stop wasting time on NFL culture wars and focus on real issues

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) has had enough of the "empty calories" of Trump's distractions.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) on America's Newsroom
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) on America's Newsroom on Wednesday. CREDIT: Fox News screenshot

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies reportedly plan to use his divisive culture war attacks on the National Football League players’ #TakeAKnee protests to energize their conservative base this November’s mid-term elections. At least one Republican Congressman has had enough.

Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a first-term U.S. Representative from Green Bay, said on Wednesday that he disagrees with Trump’s decision to cancel a scheduled Tuesday celebration with members of the Super Bowl winning Philadelphia Eagles team. Instead, he said, he would like to see the president take the high road and focus on issues that matter.

“While think this whole thing is sorta just a side show distracting from real issues,” Gallagher told Fox News. “Why not be the bigger person and invite the players who want to come and honor the tradition?” 

Gallagher then noted that Trump should be focused on actual issues. “I just would say, particularly at a time with an upcoming meeting with North Korea and we have a host of unresolved issues here in Congress. We have a broken process. We just found out yesterday that Medicare is going bankrupt in 2026. I just try to stay focused on the real issues and I’m not sure consuming empty calories of the endless culture war gets us anywhere.”


Since September, Trump has tweeted more than 20 times about the importance of NFL players standing for the Star-Spangled Banner. He has not tweeted about Medicare once.

Update: Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) told CNN on Wednesday morning that he was also disappointed with Trump’s handling of the issue. “I do think the president yesterday, just the way he went about doing it, was playing politics with it to be sure,” he told At This Hour host Kate Bolduan.