CNN Commentator: The National Anthem Is 'Problematic'

June 5, 2018

CNN political commentator Angela Rye called the national anthem "problematic in and of itself" Tuesday during a discussion of President Donald Trump's decision to disinvite the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House.

She cited NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick bringing attention to its third verse, which in part states, "No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave."

"The national anthem is problematic in and of itself," Rye said on "The Lead." "There's a second [sic] verse that Colin Kaepernick brought attention to that has yet to be discussed on broad platforms."

The Star-Spangled Banner has become a cultural flashpoint over the past year, due to Trump's feud with players who kneel or sit for the national anthem as a form of protest. After it appeared most of the Eagles wouldn't attend Tuesday's planned celebration of their Super Bowl victory, Trump disinvited the team and instead held a "Celebration of America" with patriotic music.

Trump claimed the Super Bowl event was canceled was because the players disagreed with him on respect for the national anthem, although none of the Eagles on the active roster knelt during the 2017 season.

Rye, a Democrat who formerly served as a lawyer for the Congressional Black Caucus, slammed Trump as someone who has "trafficked in bigotry, xenophobia and racism" since he began his campaign. She said this saga was not about the national anthem, but rather Trump's fixation with crowd sizes.

"That's what he can't handle. The ego blow," she said. "This is all about his ego, and we are now going to end up in a midterm where we're talking about the national anthem.

She concluded people have every right to practice free speech, and Trump as a leader should pay attention to when people protest.