Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee kneeled during a speech on the House floor Monday as a show of support for NFL players who demonstrated this weekend against President Trump.
“There is no basis in the First Amendment that says that you cannot kneel before the national anthem or in front of the flag,” Jackson Lee said during remarks on the House floor.
Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, took issue with a speech Trump gave on Friday in which he called on NFL owners to fire players who refused to stand for the national anthem.
“Get that son of a bitch off the field,” Trump said during a political rally in Alabama.
Dozens of NFL players kneeled in response to Trump’s remarks, and some teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, largely refused to take the field during the playing of the national anthem.
Jackson Lee claimed that the “son of a bitch” remark was a racist comment by Trump.
“There is no regulation that says that these young men cannot stand against the dishonoring of their mothers by you calling them ‘fire the son of a b.’ You tell me which of those children’s mothers is a son of a b. That is racism. You cannot deny it. You cannot run for it, and I kneel in honor of them,” Jackson Lee said.
“I kneel in front of the flag and on this floor,” she said as she took a knee behind the podium.
“I kneel in honor of the First Amendment. I kneel because the flag is a symbol for freedom. I kneel because I’m going to stand against racism. I kneel because I will stand with those young men, and I’ll stand with our soldiers. And I’ll stand with America, because I kneel.”
Trump has denied that his comments had anything to do with race. He has said that he believes that professional athletes should honor the American flag and members of the military by standing during the national anthem.