President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE on Sunday sent a Super Bowl message to Americans that called on them to stand during the national anthem.
In a presidential message, Trump said that Americans “owe” the “greatest respect” to members of the armed forces, adding that their defense of the “American way of life” helps make the Super Bowl possible.
“Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner,” Trump said. “We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem.”
Trump has feuded with the NFL over the league allowing players to kneel during the national anthem. Trump repeatedly attacked the NFL last year, calling for owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who kneels during the anthem.
Conservatives said the kneeling protests were disrespectful to veterans, and many have boycotted the NFL.
Some players have kneeled in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. Others kneeled this season in solidarity for the right to protest.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said that players “should” stand for the anthem, but would not create a league rule requiring players to stand. He said last week that the league may revisit the issue in the off-season.
“We send our best wishes for an enjoyable Super Bowl Sunday,” Trump added in the message. “May God bless and protect our troops, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.”
Trump is currently visiting his private Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, where he will host a watch party to see the New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles.
He will also break with the last few years of presidential tradition by not giving a pregame interview.