White House

Trump praises NFL's anthem policy, says protesters maybe 'shouldn't be in the country'

John Fritze and Gregory Korte
President Donald Trump
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday applauded the NFL's new national anthem policy and suggested players who protest maybe "shouldn't be in the country."

"You have to stand proudly for the national anthem," Trump said in an interview on Fox & Friends. "The NFL owners did the right thing."

Players who don't stand, the president said, "maybe" shouldn't be allowed to play and "maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

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NFL announces policy on the National Anthem

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Trump's remarks came a day after the National Football League approved a revised conduct policy that requires players on the field to stand for the national anthem. It allows players who do not wish to stand to remain in the locker room.

The new policy allows individual teams to fine players who do not adhere to the requirements.

Trump made the issue a cause célèbre last year as some NFL players took a knee during the anthem to protest violent interactions between police and African Americans. In September, Trump called on fans to boycott games over the controversy.

"If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast," the president wrote on Twitter on Sept. 24. "Fire or suspend!"

Trump told Fox and Friends that he didn't believe he is responsible for the policy change.

"This was not me," he said. "I brought it out. I think the people pushed it forward."