Trump Praises NFL No-Kneeling Policy During National Anthem

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Donald Trump

The president added that if players don't want to stand for the anthem, "maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

President Donald Trump praised the NFL's no-kneeling policy during "The Star-Spangled Banner," saying that "maybe you shouldn't be in the country" if you don't stand for the anthem.

Trump spoke to Fox & Friends in an interview that aired Thursday. The policy forbids players from sitting or taking a knee on the field during the anthem but allows them to stay in the locker room. Any violations of the new rules would result in fines against teams.

"I think that's good," Trump said in the interview that taped Wednesday. "I don't think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it's good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. Or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

Trump last fall called on team owners to fire players who followed former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's lead by kneeling during the national anthem. During a rally, he referred to an NFL player making a gesture during "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a "son of a bitch" who should be fired.

The president's comments spurred a national conversation about patriotism, the nation's symbols and the appropriate use of peaceful protests. Trump said in the interview that he thought "the people" pushed for the new policy.

"I brought it out. I think the people pushed it forward," Trump said. He added: "You know, that's something ideally could have been taken care of when it first started; it would have been a lot easier, but if they did that, they did the right thing."