Donald Trump has suggested Hillary Clinton lost the election to him because her approach was insufficiently patriotic – something he claimed was underscored by her support of NFL players who knelt during the national anthem.
Over the weekend, Ms Clinton spoke of her support for players such as Colin Kaepernick and others who have protested racial injustice by kneeling when the anthem is played before a game.
Speaking in London, she said people should resist “what are very clear dog-whistles” to Mr Trump base, pointing to the example of his comments about kneeling NFL players.
“That’s what black athletes kneeling was all about,” she said, responding to a question about ways of resisting the White House.
Appearing at the Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival, she added: “That’s not against our anthem or our flag.”
Asked on Monday about Ms Clinton’s support for the NFL protesters, Mr Trump said: “I think she’s wrong. Look, when they take a knee – there’s plenty of time to do knees and there’s plenty of time to do lots of other things. But when you take a knee – that’s why she lost the election. I mean, honestly, it’s that thinking, that is the reason she lost the election.”
He added: “And if Hillary Clinton actually made the statement that in a form sitting down during the playing of our great national anthem is not disrespectful, then I fully understand why she didn’t win.
“I mean, look, there are a lot of reasons she didn’t win, including the fact that she was not good at what she did. But I will tell you that is something that I had just heard about. I think that her statement, in itself, is very disrespectful to our country.”
Mr Trump, who was appearing with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, was asked by a reporter what he was going to to do about about the racial injustice being highlighted by the NFL players.
Previously he has said that players refusing to stand for the anthem should be fired.
“It is very disrespectful to our country when they take a knee during our national anthem. It is very disrespectful. Just hear it. It is very disrespectful to our country when they take a knee during the national anthem, number one,” he said.
“Number two, the people of our country are very angry at the NFL. All you have to do is look at their ratings and look at their stadiums. You see empty seats where you never saw them before. A lot of people are very angry at it. It is highly disrespectful. They shouldn’t do it.”