4 takeaways on Donald Trump's absolutely appalling statement on the Eagles' White House visit

On Monday night, Donald Trump decided t...

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 1:57 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 1:57 PM

On Monday night, Donald Trump decided to uninvite the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House because some members of the Super Bowl champs weren't planning to attend Tuesday's ceremony due to disagreements with the President.

Here's the key part of the statement:

"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. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better."

Make no mistake about what Trump is doing here: He is appointing himself the arbiter of what patriotism is and means to the 300+ million citizens of the United States. Patriotism is standing for the National Anthem before NFL football games. If you don't stand, you are -- by Trump's thinking via the statement above -- dishonoring not only the "great men and women of our military" but also the "people of our country."

And he's saying something else: If you don't meet my standard of patriotism, you don't get to come to my house.

There's a whole hell of a lot of things wrong with the statement, the logic and that Trump decided to voice it. Let's list them.

1. Trump's explanation that not having every member of the Eagles there would somehow disappoint Eagles fans who "deserve better" is total BS. I'm not an Eagles fan. But if they are anything like Washington Redskins fans, they would be totally thrilled to meet the backup left guard on the team -- much less a large group of players who expressed interest in coming. Trump is hiding behind the I-am-doing-the-fans-a-favor excuse to play some politics here -- plain and simple.

2. Trump doesn't own the White House. Trump seems to be treating 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue like one of his Trump properties. If only you had done things the way I wanted them done, then maybe you could be reclining in one of my 5-star hotels right now -- or playing golf at one of my award-winning courses. That is how Trump thinks.

Now, all presidents understand that an invitation to the White House is a big deal. Democratic and Republican presidents have used the White House as a way to woo wavering legislators, reward major donors and impress foreign diplomats.

But the idea that people can be disinvited because they don't act the way you want them to in a certain situation is new ground. This is pick-up-my-ball-and go-home-type of stuff.

3. Trump's definition of patriotism is very, very narrow. By the definition offered in his statement tonight, patriotism for Donald Trump is standing proudly for the National Anthem, with your hand on your heart. Doing anything else is disrespectful -- not only to Trump but to the military and to the country as a whole.

So, what about when Baltimore Orioles fans scream "O's" when the line "Oh say can you see?" Or the Washington Capitals fans -- as they did tonight -- cheer wildly when the word "red" is mentioned in the line "rockets red glare?" Is that equally disrespectful? If not, why not?

On Tuesday morning, Trump elaborated on his idea of patriotism in a tweet about his plans to host a "Celebration of America" event in lieu of the planned Eagles celebration.

"We will proudly be playing the National Anthem and other wonderful music celebrating our Country today at 3 P.M., The White House, with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. Honoring America!" Trump posted on Twitter. "NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!" he added, referring to the NFL's new policy that allows players to wait off the field during the anthem.

4. Trump thinks patriotism must equal unwavering loyalty to his view of the National Anthem. If you take Trump at his word in the statement released Monday night, the only way that you can show love and appreciation for those who have fought and died for our country is to stand with your hand over your heart during the playing of the National Anthem. That's it. That's the only route.

Take a step back. What are Americans fighting and dying in foreign countries fighting and dying for, if not the right of free expression, of the freedom to speak your mind without fear?

The essence of being an American is that right to express your views in a way that is true and faithful to your own experiences. The key to the success of American experiment is a belief that our melting pot of over 300 million people and their experiences gets it right only when we listen to other views and value those views, just as we value our own opinions.

Insistence on adherence to one idea of what it means to honor our country -- and its military men and women -- isn't in keeping with that credo. It's the opposite of it.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
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Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
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Grant8858194
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Ohio75811
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
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Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
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Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
Allen13654254
Miami13283244
Muskingum11821148
Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
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Marion10273144
Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
Erie9479170
Ross8979172
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Hancock8105140
Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
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Ottawa425783
Perry414051
Jackson402259
Pike367140
Morrow359149
Fayette353951
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Hardin341868
Adams338864
Gallia329254
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Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
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Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
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Vinton130217
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