CNN host Jake Tapper called separate claims President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE made about the Philadelphia Eagles “a lie” after Trump cited national anthem protests in his decision to disinvite the team from a White House visit.
Tapper on CNN’s “The Lead” on Tuesday targeted Trump’s comments invoking the anthem protests in his decision to cancel the event with the Super Bowl winners, despite no Eagles kneeling during the anthem throughout the past NFL season.
"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow. They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country," Trump said in a statement Monday.
“According to a member of the Eagles with whom I spoke, that claim by President Trump is a lie,” Tapper said on Tuesday. “This player tells me that not one Eagle cited the president’s view on anthem protests when discussing the reasons they did not want to attend.”
The CNN host also ripped Trump’s tweet stating that staying in the locker room during the anthem “is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling,” noting that the Pittsburgh Steelers, not the Eagles, had remained in the locker room.
“The suggestion that it was the Eagles that did that — false. Deceptive. A lie,” Tapper said.
He also read a comment he received from one Eagles player pushing back on Trump’s claims on the team’s reasoning against attending the ceremony.
“Reasons vary from player to player because the president gives people so many reasons not to want to go,” the player told Tapper. “Lots of guys who are white and even conservative balked at the possibility of going.”
Tapper added that while he is a “huge fan” of the Eagles, he is also “a huge fan of the truth.”
“When you look at this controversy, when you look at the president lying about the Eagles taking a knee during the anthem. When you look at falsely suggesting that the Eagles stayed in the locker room. When you look at the White House press secretary, paid with your tax dollars, attacking the team over and over – ask yourself, would members of the Philadelphia Eagles say the president seeks to divide us? Are they wrong?” Tapper asked.
Trump held a brief "Celebration of America" event on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after he suddenly canceled the event with the Eagles.