Hours before a pair of high-stakes meetings with GOP lawmakers and leaders from both parties, President Donald Trump was focused not on an embattled tax bill or an end-of-year spending bill. Instead, he was tweeting about professional football players.
Trump is scheduled to make the mile drive up Pennsylvania Avenue for midday remarks before the Senate Republican conference to wrangle votes for a tax measure that appears to lack the necessary 50 votes to pass. And later in the afternoon, the president will host the “Big Four” congressional Republican and Democratic leaders at the executive mansion to discuss pending legislative matters, including a politically tricky spending bill that’s needed to avert a government shutdown.
Rather than using his Twitter account to sell the substance of the Senate GOP tax overhaul bill to gin up public support or pressure the six or seven Republican holdouts, the president instead started Tuesday by continuing his feud with the NFL and its players.
The president noted in a tweet that around “24 players” took a knee as the National Anthem played before their respective professional football games during the Thanksgiving weekend. He then took a shot at the league and its owners, writing they are “now having a very hard time filling up” their stadiums.
“The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem,” the president wrote. He labeled the league “Weak and out of control!”
At least 24 players kneeling this weekend at NFL stadiums that are now having a very hard time filling up. The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem. Weak and out of control!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017
Notably, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones held fundraisers for Trump’s 2016 campaign, and is waging a behind-the-scenes power struggle with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Also apparently on Trump’s mind just two days before the Senate GOP tax bill is slated to hit the chamber floor for a high-stakes vote with work left to do to secure the 50th vote (Vice President Mike Pence can cast the decisive 51st vote): a Vanity Fair article that cites multiple sources close to Melania Trump saying she did not want him to win nor become first lady.
“She didn’t want this come hell or high water,” one longtime Melania friend told the magazine. “I don’t think she thought it was going to happen.”
The first lady is on a trip to India, which the president used to tell his 43.5 million Twitter followers that she loves her role and always told him he would win if he got into the race.
Melania, our great and very hard working First Lady, who truly loves what she is doing, always thought that “if you run, you will win.” She would tell everyone that, “no doubt, he will win.” I also felt I would win (or I would not have run) - and Country is doing great!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017