Trump is more upset about Jemele Hill than white supremacists

Trump attacks black ESPN anchor, but remains silent about latest Charlottesville rally.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

On Tuesday morning, President Trump attacked ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, blaming her for ESPN’s ratings.

Trump’s attack comes the day after Hill was suspended for two weeks by ESPN for posting a string of tweets in response to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ announcement that any player who doesn’t stand for the national anthem won’t play for his team. Hill wrote if fans were upset with Jones’ ultimatum they should target team advertisers, rather than placing the burden solely on the players.

Hours after Hill posted the book clarifying that she wasn’t calling for an NFL boycott, ESPN announced it was suspending her. In a statement, the network alluded to the controversy Hill generated last month when she called Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter, and claimed her latest tweets constituted “a second violation of our social media guidelines.”

Hours before Trump attacked Hill, he posted a tweet suggesting his administration may go after the NFL’s non-profit status unless players stop protesting during the national anthem.

After Hill called Trump a white supremacist last month, the administration publicly called for ESPN to fire her. ThinkProgress broke news that ESPN tried to remove Hill from the air, but was thwarted by other staffers who supported her.

While Trump attacks Hill for expressing her views on Twitter, he has remained silent about the white supremacist rally the took place in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. The rally that took place less than two months after a woman was murdered during a similar gathering when an alleged Nazi sympathizer drove his vehicle through a crowd. On that occasion, Trump actually defended participants in the white supremacist rally, accusing counter-protesters of “violently attacking the other group” and saying there “were very fine people in both sides.”

Trump’s tweets on Tuesday came two days after Vice President Mike Pence flew across the country on a government plane so he could dramatically leave an NFL game in Indianapolis before it started to protest that some players kneeled during the national anthem. Pence has also remained silent about the latest white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

While Trump claims that NFL players’ anthem protests are about “disrespecting our Anthem, Flag, and Country,” the protests — which began with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the anthem early last season — began in response to police brutality against black people.

Trump recently urged NFL owners to implement a rule prohibiting players from doing anything others than standing “with respect” during the anthem. During a Fox & Friends interview late last month, the president used a racist dogwhistle while attempting to explain why he thinks owners are reluctant to do so, saying he thinks “they’re afraid of their players if you know the truth, and I think it’s disgraceful.”