Paul Ryan challenger hits Trump for 'more harshly' condemning athletes than racists

Paul Ryan challenger hits Trump for 'more harshly' condemning athletes than racists
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Randy Bryce, a Democrat who's challenging House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R) for his Wisconsin House Seat, savaged President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE on Saturday for more harshly criticizing athletes who protest the national anthem than the racist groups who incited deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month.

"Donald Trump condemns a Black man for non-violence more harshly than White supremacists for violence," Bryce wrote on Twitter.

Bryce followed up that tweet by showering praise on those who "stand up for their beliefs" — an apparent reference to athletes, such as NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick, who gained notoriety last year for kneeling during the national anthem before football games.

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"I am SO proud to see Americans stand up for their beliefs. That is literally why our country exists. Next step is to elect more of US," he tweeted.

Trump sharply criticized the anthem protests during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., on Friday, saying that NFL coaches should fire players who do so. 

He doubled down on that argument Saturday, writing on Twitter that players who "disrespect" the U.S. should be fired and "find something else to do."

The president came under fire last month for his muted and equivocal statements in the wake of violent white nationalist protests in Charlottesville. Following the demonstrations, Trump blamed violence on "both sides" and appeared to equate white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups with the counterprotesters who had turned out to oppose them.

In the days that followed, both Republicans and Democrats called on Trump to more forcefully condemn hate groups.