When Trump attacks patriotic NFL players, he attacks the American way of life

When Trump attacks patriotic NFL players, he attacks the American way of life
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When President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE accuses NFL players of being unpatriotic, he is staining the office first held by George Washington, who warned in his farewell address against demagogues who perpetually divide the nation. He is staining the office once held Abraham Lincoln, who warned against America becoming a house divided against itself, and who would be scandalized that Trump is now leading his party. 

NFL players are American patriots. By attacking them, Trump is attacking the American way of life.

The American people increasingly understand that the things Trump does pose a threat to the core values that make America great. Several new polls show the Democratic lead in the midterm elections to be rising again to double digits. 

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Iconic presidents such as Kennedy and Reagan would be disgusted to witness how Trump divides the democratic alliance at the Group of Seven summit. They would be appalled and alarmed that instead of acting like the leader of the free world, our president currently plans to leave the Group of Seven summit early. Some now refer to the meeting as the Group of Six plus one.

 

As Trump suggests he is above the law, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortCohen questioned for hours in Mueller probe about Trump's dealings with Russia: report Vote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice Hillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe MORE and Michael Cohen, who may ultimately seek plea bargain agreements with the feds in the investigation of the Russian attack against America, face extreme legal dangers in the coming week. Between today and next Friday, Manafort might have his bail revoked because of allegations he engaged in witness tampering. After June 15, a huge pool of documents from Cohen will be turned over to prosecutors by a judge ruling heavily in their favor.

It is electoral midterm madness for Trump to be escalating his charges against NFL players as a campaign strategy.

When Trump attacks NFL players, Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, the FBI, and so many others, he is bringing to life the ghost of the late Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and follows the war tactics of his early mentor, Roy Cohn, who worked for the ultimately discredited, humiliated and censured McCarthy. 

When Trump charges that NFL players are unpatriotic — and this should be said with clarity — he is weaponizing American sports, which have always brought communities together in the great American tradition. In doing so, he is undermining the core value of the American idea of a big nation of diverse people sharing common values.

NFL players are motivated by the height of patriotism. They dream the dream of Washington and Lincoln, as well as Kennedy and King, for an America in which all people are treated equally and fairly.

NFL players donate substantial amounts of money and time to causes including promoting social justice, helping children, and supporting wounded warriors. They embody the spirit of generosity, community and togetherness that is the soul of Americanism and the core of true patriotism.

George Washington warned in his farewell address about craven politicians like Trump who would turn our country into a battlefield of warring and feuding factions.

Washington wrote that our republic was defined and protected by the unity of our states, our people, our citizens and our communities behind the common notion of what it means to be an American. He warned that our democracy and our security are threatened by domestic demagogues and foreign dictators who would divide our people and destroy our democracy. 

It is not patriotic to label immigrants from south of our border as rapists and criminals. It is not patriotic to say that his predecessor as president was not a true American. It is not patriotic to charge that the free press is the enemy of the people. It is not patriotic to say that the patriots who investigate the crimes of a foreign dictator against our democracy are part of a criminal deep state.

And it is not patriotic to attack NFL players in a way so wrong and vile that if they were file a defamation lawsuit against the president, they would probably prevail in court. 

I grew up surrounded by sports, playing basketball in a church league and baseball in the Babe Ruth league. We never cared about the race or politics of other players on our team. Our communities were united when our home teams contended for the championship. Sports gave us a place that brought our people together in the great American tradition of community and togetherness.

When Trump attacks patriotic NFL players, he is attacking the American way of life. Shame on him.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.