Trump Campaign Fundraises Off Pence’s NFL Walkout

Pence Walks Out on NFL Game After Anthem Protest

President Donald Trump’s joint fundraising committee sent an email Monday asking donors to show support for Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to leave an NFL game in Indianapolis after some members of the San Francisco 49ers kneeled during the national anthem.

The solicitation from the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which jointly raises money for Trump’s presidential campaign committee and the Republican National Committee, asks supporters to give at least $5 to the campaign to receive a “I STAND FOR THE FLAG” sticker.

“Immediately after the vice president’s honorable display of leadership and patriotism, the Fake News Media relentlessly ATTACKED him,” the email says. “The media is NOT going to win this fight, because we have the AMERICAN PEOPLE standing on our side.”

Trump has denounced NFL players who kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, saying that the league would “go to hell” unless it barred players from demonstrating, and suggesting players who protested should be fired.

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year started a trend of kneeling during the national anthem in protest of what he said was systemic mistreatment of blacks by law enforcement. Kaepernick, who four years ago led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance, is no longer with the team. An unsigned free agent, his protest has been widely listed as part of the reason no team has yet hired him.

Pence, a former Indiana governor, was attending a football game Sunday between the Indianapolis Colts and the 49ers, where the Colts retired Peyton Manning’s number and erected a statue of their former quarterback. The attention didn’t stay on Manning for long.

Trump, on Twitter, said he’d asked Pence before the game to depart if any players kneeled. They did, and Pence did. “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence said in a statement after exiting the game.

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