As a follow-up to President Trump’s Friday tweet claiming Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl football team disrespected America by cancelling their appearances at the White House to celebrate their trophy-winning season, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted a press release that contained misinformation.
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The Democratic leader tweeted an unsourced press release and email sent from the Pennsylvania Republican’s office that contained inaccuracies. The statement claimed that Philadelphia Eagles team owners, Jeffrey Lurie and Arthur Blank, had refused to attend the ceremony and blamed Trump. It also quoted one unnamed “feedback” memo from local councilman Joe Kelly, which was never released to the public and never referenced in the Democratic leader’s tweet.
“They expect more from a celebration of their team’s championship than the president was willing to provide,” said the statement, quoted from the email. “We’ve reached a new low.”
But as the Guardian reported on Friday, Kelly didn’t make the remarks attributed to him. The statement was written by an unidentified email administrator for the councilman, who was told he would not be attending the event.
The text of the quote incorrectly reads that members of the team “are complaining that they did not receive the White House recognition that they are entitled to”, rather than saying “the team is complaining that they did not receive the White House recognition they are entitled to”.
Kelly never actually said he was not attending the event but was unable to come to the White House due to scheduling conflicts. Even if Kelly was hoping to attend, the statement points out, Philadelphia’s players decided not to participate anyway.
Meanwhile, the Republican leader’s spokesman Eric Trump – no relation to the president – sent out a tweet calling for the Eagles to “stop protesting, come to the White House and make the American people proud”.
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“No good deed goes unpunished,” read the tweet in an apparent reference to the botched rollout of his new tax plan. He also included the hashtag “stopdisrespectingAmerica” and added: “We should be uniting not dividing. The President is right – there should be no protests during the National Anthem.”
But he wrote that the “party shouldn’t fixate on divisive politics” and the tweet carried the US flag and the maple leaf. He then also included the name of the Trump-linked company he owns, Trump International Golf Club, suggesting he might be trying to distance himself from the use of his name by the president, who at times has had to distance himself from his namesake hotel due to its business dealings.
And Trump on Friday night added to the debate when he wrote on Twitter: “The world is laughing at the U.S.A.! The NFL is cracking down on players that kneel for National Anthem. But, when it comes to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem, the United States is totally divided.”