People For the American Way Foundation

Reverend Leslie Watson Malachi: Trump Has Rejected His Obligation to Unite, Rather Than Divide, Country

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2017

Contact: Courtney Neale at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

WASHINGTON—On Friday, President Trump made remarks in Huntsville, Alabama, urging NFL owners to fire players who participate in peaceful protest during the playing of the national anthem. Trump said: “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, you’re fired!’”

In response, Reverend Leslie Watson Malachi, director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way, released the following statement:

“Trump has made clear, once again, that he is rejecting his moral obligation to unite rather than divide this country and its people. Along with many other people of faith, I was outraged at Trump’s disrespectful attack against African American NFL players who took a stand against oppression and inequality. His profane, childish, and irresponsible outburst was unacceptable, especially coming from the White House.

“Our outrage causes us to ask: where are his spiritual advisors? Why are they silent on yet another demonstration that is antithetical to the values that most faith leaders teach, preach, and practice? The Religious Right has given him a pass on sexist and divisive remarks before. Will they stand by as he refers to the mothers of sons who stand on principle, exercising their First Amendment rights, as dogs?

“As a person of faith, I cannot allow disrespect and disregard for people in this country from the highest office holder in the land, who spews a brand of ‘Christian’ values I am unfamiliar with. Any faith leaders who have stood by Trump—trading in their values and principles for access to power—should break their silence and condemn his statement. Words can not only hurt, they can divide a nation.”