Donald Trump’s second tweet attacking NFL players for protesting during the national anthem went viral on Monday, with the President tweeting a video of himself and his wife posing with a group of NFL players before their team’s game.
The president used the video to mock NFL players who have refused to stand for the anthem and to criticize former President Barack Obama, who he said had called the protest “a disgrace”.
“When I saw the way our players took a knee during the National Anthem, I said, ‘I’m going to have them fired,’ ” Trump tweeted on Monday night.
“I did that because you can’t have our players disrespect our flag.
I didn’t do it to disrespect the military or anything, I did it because we’re losing so much respect.”
In the video, Trump said he was “very disappointed” in the NFL’s players, and then mocked them for refusing to stand.
“Our great players have decided to STAND!” he tweeted.
“This is NOT about race, this is about respect.
You know, we have to show respect for our country, our Flag, and our National Anthem!”
“This was a PR stunt by @NFL to try to get attention for their failed policies,” Trump added.
“And I’ll tell you what, their policies were a disaster!”
The president’s comments were retweeted more than 200,000 times, more than 2,000 more than any other tweet since his first tweet about the protests on Monday.
NFL is trying to hide the disrespect of our great country and our great flag.
Now they will do anything to cover it up!” the President said in a series of tweets, including one in which he said he had “nothing to do with the protests”.
The protests have also drawn a large crowd in some cities, including Washington DC, which is hosting the NFL draft later this week.
Trump has been criticized for using his Twitter account to express his opinions.
In March, he criticized the NFL for not playing the national anthems during games, saying it was “disgraceful” and that he “couldn’t stand” watching the anthem.
But he has previously expressed support for NFL players’ right to protest during the anthem, saying he was not going to make a comment on the issue until it was resolved.
“What a disgrace to our country when our great National Anthem is played twice a week!”
Trump tweeted in April, shortly after the US had a deadly police shooting of a black man.
“NFL should pay more attention to their fans and their players instead of allowing these thugs to disrespect our Flag and our Country!”
In June, Trump again called for NFL teams to pay players for their protests, saying the players should be paid.
“If owners of NFL teams can’t support our great players and allow them to kneel during the playing of our National anthemes, they should fire them,” he tweeted, adding that the owners “should also consider a fine or suspension.”
“If NFL players want to go over to stadiums and protest, they can do that.
It’s not that they have to do it,” Trump said.
The NFL has also received criticism for its handling of the protests, which have drawn criticism from President Donald Trump and some of the league’s owners, including the New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers.
“In the NFL, we can be proud that our fans stand with us as we honor our Flag.
In the NFL the fans have spoken.
Our teams have won championships.
Our players have won Super Bowls,” the NFL tweeted on Tuesday.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.
Trump also took aim at the NFL over the weekend for allowing its players to protest, saying that the league had “let our country down”.
“We have been let down by @NHL and @NFL, the two failing entities in America that are allowing their owners to get away with murder and destruction,” Trump tweeted.
On Monday night, the President also weighed in on another issue that has come to be seen as a key part of the protest movement: the president’s proposed Muslim travel ban.
“We must stop being politically correct and get smart.
We have to stop being a divided nation.
We must stop allowing our country to be divided,” Trump wrote in his first post-election tweetstorm.
“No more politically correct, divisive and fake news!”
“We cannot allow our country divided,” he added.
In recent days, the White House has faced criticism over its response to Trump’s initial comments about Muslims, which drew criticism from Trump and others.
The President was later forced to retract those comments.