AP-NORC Poll: Disapproval for anthem protest, Trump response

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 3:40 AM
Updated: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 3:39 AM


            Graphic shows results of AP-NORC Center poll on attitudes toward pro athlete protests during the national anthem; 2c x 7 inches; 96.3 mm x 177 mm;
Graphic shows results of AP-NORC Center poll on attitudes toward pro athlete protests during the national anthem; 2c x 7 inches; 96.3 mm x 177 mm;

Most Americans think refusing to stand for the national anthem is disrespectful to the country, the military and the American flag. But most also disapprove of President Donald Trump's calling for NFL players to be fired for refusing to stand.

The NFL protests began last season with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem to bring more attention to the killings of black men by police officers. The protests spread this season after the former San Francisco 49er was unable to sign on with another team. Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett recently said he was racially profiled by Las Vegas police and then Trump sounded off.

According to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 52 percent of Americans disapprove of professional athletes who have protested by refusing to stand during the national anthem, compared to 31 percent who approve. At the same time, 55 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump's call for firing players who refuse to stand, while 31 percent approve.

In the poll, African-Americans were far more likely to approve of the players' protests.

"I don't see kneeling while the anthem is being played as being disrespectful," said Mary Taylor, 64, a retired law librarian from Olympia, Washington. "Somebody has to stand up. Right now, it's black football players."

Taylor, who is white, said she supports police but understands why players are protesting. And her personal politics also factor in.

"I'm for it because Donald Trump is against it," she said.

The form of the protest seems to matter. According to the poll, Americans are more likely to approve than disapprove of players who, instead of kneeling, link arms in solidarity during the anthem, 45 percent to 29 percent.

"People don't want to be confronted with their racism in any form. If they are confronted with it, they want it in the mildest form possible," said DeRay Mckesson, a Black Lives Matter activist who has protested police actions since the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The NFL protests got more attention and morphed into a bigger debate about patriotism after Trump told a crowd at an Alabama rally last month: "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. Fired!'"

That prompted dozens of NFL players, and a few team owners, to join in protests. They knelt, raised fists, sat or locked arms in solidarity during pre-game ceremonies when the anthem was played.

Broken down by race, 55 percent of African-Americans approve of players refusing to stand for the anthem, and 19 percent disapprove, the poll found. Among whites, 62 percent disapprove and 25 percent approve.

Seventy-nine percent of blacks disapprove of Trump's call for players to be fired, while just 8 percent approve. Among whites, 48 percent disapprove and 38 percent approve.

Thomas Sleeper of Holden, Massachusetts, said he considers the protests to be freedom of expression protected by the First Amendment — and pre-game protests are likely the best stage for them because "individually protesting is not going to get as much press."

"They want people to know that the country isn't living up to its full standard," said Sleeper, 78, who is white. "This is a way to get noticed, and possibly get some action taken."

Chandler, Arizona, business owner Larry Frank, 67, said the protests are inappropriate and disrespectful to military veterans. Trump's response, he said, was "dead-on."

"We should keep politics out of our sports," said Frank, who served in the Air Force. "We pay them to come out and play games and entertain us. Using this medium is not the right way to do it. Do it off the field. Let's not interfere with the process of a good business and a fun sport."

The poll shows that overall, about 6 in 10 Americans agree with the assessment that refusing to stand for the anthem is disrespectful to the military, and most also think it's disrespectful to the country's values and the American flag. About 6 in 10 blacks said they did not consider it disrespectful.

Just 4 in 10 Americans overall, and about half of African-Americans, think refusing to stand for the flag can be an act of patriotism.

Frank, an avid Arizona Cardinals fan who is white, said he plans to boycott watching football on Veterans' Day to show his disgust with the players' protest, part of a larger campaign being promoted on social media.

Thomas Peoples of New Brunswick, New Jersey, said the protests are a personal decision for each player. He doesn't think their actions are meant to disrespect the country or the military.

Still, he would not participate in such a protest.

"It's not my approach to resolve a problem," said Peoples, 66, who is black. "I'm not a protester. But they're expressing their feelings about how some Americans are treated in this country."

The AP-NORC poll of 1,150 adults was conducted Sept. 28-Oct. 2 using a sample drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. The poll includes a total of 337 black respondents, who were sampled at a higher rate than their proportion of the population for purposes of analysis. The margin of sampling error among blacks is plus or minus 5.7 percentage points. For results reported among all adults, responses among blacks are weighted to reflect their proportion among all U.S. adults.

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Trump nominates Kirstjen Nielsen for Homeland Security secretary

Published: Thursday, October 12, 2017 @ 2:49 PM

In this Aug. 22, 2017 photo, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Deputy Chief of Staff Kirstjen Nielsen speak together as they walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. President Donald Trump nominated Kirstjen Nielsen as his next Secretary of Homeland Security. Nielsen was former DHS Secretary John Kelly’s deputy when he served in that role and moved with Kelly to the White House when he was tapped to be Trump’s chief of staff.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP
In this Aug. 22, 2017 photo, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Deputy Chief of Staff Kirstjen Nielsen speak together as they walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. President Donald Trump nominated Kirstjen Nielsen as his next Secretary of Homeland Security. Nielsen was former DHS Secretary John Kelly’s deputy when he served in that role and moved with Kelly to the White House when he was tapped to be Trump’s chief of staff. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)(Andrew Harnik/AP)

President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated White House Deputy Chief of Staff Kirstjen Nielsen as his Homeland Security secretary.

>> Read more trending news

“It’s hard to imagine a more qualified candidate for this critical position,” Trump said.

Trump threatens network's license after report he wanted to expand nuclear arsenal

Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 @ 2:20 PM

In this Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Evan Vucci/AP
In this Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)(Evan Vucci/AP)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested that he might challenge the licenses of TV networks that are critical of him, pointing to reports that he has categorized as “fake news.”

>> Read more trending news

The suggestion was made on Twitter after NBC News reported early Wednesday that the president wanted to expand the U.S. nuclear arsenal tenfold over the summer and suggested as much in a meeting with high-ranking national security officials.

The comment was made during a July 20 meeting that included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to NBC News.

During the meeting, the president was shown a slide that depicted the decrease in U.S. nuclear weapons that started in the late 1960s, the news station reported.

>> Related: Trump suggests his IQ is higher than Tillerson's after reported 'moron' jab

“Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve,” NBC News reported, adding that those present were surprised by the request. “Officials briefly explained the legal and practical impediments to a nuclear buildup and how the current military posture is stronger than it was at the height of the buildup.”

After the meeting, NBC News reported, Tillerson was heard calling the president a “moron,” a remark that the president has called “totally phony.” The State Department last week denied that Tillerson called Trump a moron, although the secretary declined to deny the report himself.

>> Related: Tillerson slams reports he considered resigning, called Trump a 'moron'

Trump denied on Wednesday afternoon that he ever suggested the United States increase its nuclear arsenal.

“I never said that,” he said during a news briefing with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Right now we have so many nuclear weapons I want them in perfect condition, perfect state. ... It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write and someone should look into it.”

His comments Wednesday afternoon echoed ones he made earlier in the day on Twitter.

“Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Trump wrote. “Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!”

He followed with a second tweet calling NBC News “bad for (the) country.”

“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License?” Trump wrote. “Bad for country!”

The president’s suggestion is unlikely to do much to ease his frustrations. The Los Angeles Times reported that NBC and other networks don’t hold licenses that cover their entire networks. Instead, licenses are issued to local stations.

“Under deregulatory measures that Republicans successfully pushed over the past generation, challenging a license on the grounds that coverage is unfair or biased would be extremely difficult,” the newspaper reported.

It’s not the first time Trump has threatened news organizations that are critical of him.

During the race for the White House and again in March, Trump suggested that it might be worth loosening libel laws in order to make it easier for people to challenge inaccurate stories, Bloomberg News reported.

Last week, the president asked in a tweet why the Senate Intelligence Committee was not looking at American media companies.

Tillerson Denies Reports He Considered Resigning, Called Trump a ‘Moron’

Trump suggests his IQ is higher than Tillerson's after reported 'moron' jab

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 11:23 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 @ 3:55 PM

Tillerson Denies Reports He Considered Resigning, Called Trump a ‘Moron’

Update, 3:55 p.m. ET, Oct. 10: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump was joking when he implied during an interview with Forbes magazine last week that he was smarter than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“The president certainly never implied that the secretary of State was not intelligent,” Sanders said Tuesday during a news briefing. “He made a joke. Nothing more than that.”

The secretary of state and president met for lunch on Tuesday and "had a great visit," Sanders said.

Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he continued to have confidence in Tillerson.

Original report: President Donald Trump said last week that he would test higher than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson if the two were to take IQ tests after the top U.S. diplomat reportedly called his boss a “moron.”

>> Read more trending news

Trump made the claim Friday in an interview with Forbes magazine, days after NBC News first reported that Tillerson called the president a “moron” after a July 20 meeting at the Pentagon. The Forbes interview was published online Tuesday.

“I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests,” Trump told Forbes magazine. “I can tell you who is going to win.”

The rising tension between Trump and Tillerson was highlighted last week after NBC News reported that Tillerson considered resigning over the summer after Trump delivered a politically charged speech to the Boy Scouts of America at their annual Jamboree. The head of the Boy Scouts later apologized for Trump's remarks.

Tillerson denied he ever considered resigning at a news conference last week, but did not deny calling the president a moron, instead categorizing the situation as petty.

>> Related: Tillerson slams reports he considered resigning, called Trump a 'moron'

“This is what I don’t understand about Washington,” Tillerson said on Wednesday. “I’m not from this place, but where I come from, we don’t deal with that petty nonsense.”

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert later denied the report, saying that Tillerson “does not use that language to speak about anyone.”

Several other news outlets subsequently confirmed the NBC News report, including The Washington Post and CNN.

Still, Trump claimed last week that the report was fabricated.

"It was fake news, it was a totally phony story," Trump said on Wednesday. "It was made up by NBC. They just made it up."

He added that he has "total confidence in Rex."

Tillerson, 65, has served as secretary of state since shortly after Trump took office in January. Before assuming office on Feb. 1, Tillerson worked as chairman and chief executive officer of oil and gas giant ExxonMobil.

Tillerson Denies Reports He Considered Resigning, Called Trump a ‘Moron’

What did Sen. Bob Corker say about President Trump?

Published: Monday, October 09, 2017 @ 11:46 AM

In this Aug. 16, 2017, file photo, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., speaks to the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce in Sevierville, Tenn. Always one to speak his mind, Corker's new free agent status should make President Donald Trump and the GOP very nervous. The two-term Tennessee Republican isn't seeking re-election. And that gives him even more elbow room to say what he wants and vote how he pleases over the next 15 months as Trump and the party's top leaders on Capitol Hill struggle to get their agenda on track. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, File)
Erik Schelzig/AP
In this Aug. 16, 2017, file photo, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., speaks to the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce in Sevierville, Tenn. Always one to speak his mind, Corker's new free agent status should make President Donald Trump and the GOP very nervous. The two-term Tennessee Republican isn't seeking re-election. And that gives him even more elbow room to say what he wants and vote how he pleases over the next 15 months as Trump and the party's top leaders on Capitol Hill struggle to get their agenda on track. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, File)(Erik Schelzig/AP)

President Donald Trump and Sen. Bob Corker traded barbs on social media on Sunday.

The president claimed the Tennessee Republican, who announced last month that he would not seek re-election, begged for Trump’s endorsement before deciding not to run. Corker, for his part, implied that Trump is immature.

>> Read more trending news

What did the president say?

Trump said in a series of tweets on Sunday morning that he refused to give Corker an endorsement for what would have been his re-election campaign in 2018 and that Corker had hoped to be secretary of state.

“He could not win without my endorsement,” Trump wrote. “He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’”

The president said his refusal to back Corker would explain his “negative voice.”

“(He) didn’t have the guts to run!” he wrote.