WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump denied Tuesday that he is preoccupied with the NFL after spending several days criticizing the sports franchise and its players on Twitter.
“I’ve heard that before about was I preoccupied,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. “Not at all. Not at all. I have plenty of time on my hands. All I do is work.”
Between Saturday and Tuesday, Trump tweeted about the NFL 22 times along with three others mingling separate sports with politics.
Trump said that NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence represented “a very important situation.”
“I was at Walter Reed Hospital recently, and I saw so many great young people, and they’re missing legs and they’re missing arms. And they’ve been so badly injured. And they were fighting for our country. They were fighting for our flag. They were fighting for our national anthem,” Trump said. “For people to disrespect that by kneeling during the playing of our national anthem I think is disgraceful.”
Trump initially delved into the controversy during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama for Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.).
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,” Trump said.