Maddow: Trump 'planned 'to make a racially divisive issue' out of anthem protests

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow told NBC late-night host Jimmy Fallon she believes President Trump “decided he was going to make a racially divisive issue” out of NFL players protesting the national anthem.

“This wasn't just like him popping off on Twitter,” Maddow said on “The Tonight Show.”

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“He decided he was going to make a racially divisive issue out of something going on in sports, they planned on it, they built a whole campaign around it, and then he launched it, and so I sometimes feel like he gets away with this stuff a little bit because people assume that he did it without thinking.

“This is a planned-out thing,” she concluded. “Other people were involved in deciding to do this. That creeps me out about it.”

Maddow offered no details on who else might have been involved in the planning.

Polls are mixed when it comes to whether Americans agree with Trump's comments that kneeling during the national anthem is “disgraceful” and “disrespectful.”

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday, a majority of those asked believe players should not be fired for kneeling during the national anthem at football games. 

The survey revealed that 57 percent of those polled don't think the league should fire players who protest by kneeling during the anthem. 

But 58 percent said that they believe professional athletes in general “should be required to stand during the national anthem at sporting events.”