Before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey, Trump spoke with reporters on the tarmac of Morristown Municipal Airport.The following exchange took place under a wing of the plane.

Do you think the players who knelt down should be fired?

President Trump: It’s very disrespectful to our flag and to our country, so I certainly think the owners should do something about it. There was great solidarity, I watched a little bit – I was not watching the games today, believe me, I was doing other things — but I watched a little bit and I will say that there was tremendous solidarity for our flag and for our country.

But Mr. President, your friend Robert Kraft said he was disappointed by what you said on Friday.

President Trump: Look, that’s okay. He has to take his ideas and go with what he wants. I think it’s very disrespectful to our country. I think it’s very, very disrespectful to our flag.

I like Bob very much, we’re friends — he gave me a Super Bowl ring a month ago, right? — so he’s a good friend of mine, .and I want him to do what he wants to do, but we have a great country, we have great people representing our country, especially our soldiers, our first responders, and they should be treated with respect, and when you get on your knee and you don’t respect the American flag or the anthem, that’s not being treated with respect.

Are you inflaming racial tensions, sir?

President Trump: This has nothing to do with race. I never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag.

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