Against Family’s Longstanding Wishes, Trump Props Up NFL Vet’s Death For Political Purposes

By on September 25, 2017
Featured image via public domain and Shutterstock.

President Donald Trump spent much of his weekend belittling protesters that kneeled during the playing of the National Anthem at NFL games across the country.

The silent protests are meant to bring about awareness of racial disparities around the nation, including several instances where law enforcement have shot and killed or otherwise harmed unarmed African-Americans. The protests started in earnest last year, when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting or kneeling during the anthem.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said last August.

Trump derided the decision to kneel, insisting that players must stand for the playing of the National Anthem, and that they must honor the flag itself.

Trump’s tweet on NFL ratings was highly misleading, and based on polling data that shows about 15 out of every 500 fans of the NFL chose to watch less football as a result of the protests. To contrast that number, about 29 out of every 500 fans cited game delays and too many commercials as rationale for watching less.

Trump sent another post out into social media on Monday morning, this time a retweet of a message implying that the memory of former NFL player Pat Tillman, who enlisted after the events of 9/11, was tainted because of these protests.

The tweet, originally sent by user @jayMAGA45, was retweeted by Trump sometime after 9 AM on Monday morning.

Using the image of any soldier who has died on the battlefield to further your political point is in poor taste — but in this instance, it’s even more dour.

Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004. But the official word of his death initially suggested he was killed in combat, prompting the Bush administration at the time to prop him up as a patriotic example of support for his military agenda — even though Tillman himself was against many of the policies the Bush administration put forth, including the war in Iraq.

Pat Tillman, as well as his brother Kevin Tillman, believed the war was “imperial folly,” the Telegraph reported back in 2009. And in an interview with CNN in 2010, their mother Mary Tillman said she believed the administration used her son’s death for improper political purposes.

They were deliberate attempts to cover up what happened in order for them to use Pat’s death for propaganda purposes at a time during the war in 2004 when [the] Abu Ghraib Prison scandal was breaking … it was a terrible time for the military and for that administration, and Pat’s death was an opportunity for them.

Today, it seems not much has changed — President Trump retweeted an image of Tillman to make a broader political point about NFL protests. It is equally disgusting to what the Bush administration did, and Trump should apologize to his family for doing so, removing the tweet from his timeline in the meantime.