— CSPAN (@cspan) September 26, 2017
President Trump has spent the last few days railing against black athletes while zeroing in on those NFL players who protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Slowly, other members of the Trump administration have supported the president like Chief of Staff John Kelly (if a Trump tweet is to be believed) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who said players could “do free speech on their own time.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions took a break from being berated by his boss to defend the president’s comments and further characterize the players’ protests against inequality and police brutality as “disrespect for the military”:
“Well, the president has free speech rights, too. Je sends soldiers out every day to defend this country under the flag of the United States, under the national anthem and the unity those symbols call on us to adhere to. I agree that it’s a big mistake to protest in that fashion because it weakens the commitment we have to this nation.”
Sessions said the players wouldn’t be prosecuted for protesting but that not everywhere was a place to protest. He also believes that colleges shouldn’t become echo chambers by limiting speech that might be deemed offensive.
Outside of the event, Georgetown students (those who were not invited to a speech given by a sitting politician at Georgetown Law School) called Sessions hypocritical with some holding signs that read, “Hate speech is not free speech” and “Why do you silence dissent but applaud free speech?” They also pointed to the Department of Justice defending the free-speech rights of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding.