CNN's Jim Acosta used a question at the White House press briefing Monday to imply that President Donald Trump's comments about standing for the national anthem were racially motivated.
Acosta pointed out that Trump was criticizing athletes for kneeling who were mostly black, while he was praising leagues without such protests that also have predominately white athletes. Acosta said the NHL and NASCAR are marketed to "a different demographic" and asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders if Trump was waging a culture war.
"Why is it that the president over the weekend is going after, or seeming to go after African-American athletes, and then this morning he is putting out a tweet praising NASCAR, which obviously is geared toward a different demographic, and the way they stand and respect and honor the flag?" Acosta asked. "Is he trying to wage something of a culture war?"
Sanders contradicted Acosta’s connection between Trump’s comments and race, saying that Trump was not interested in a culture war.
"Not at all, the president is not talking about race," Sanders said. "The president is talking about pride in our country."
She praised those who stood for the national anthem and said that Trump was only seeking to support them, not to take sides in the culture war.
"What you saw yesterday were players and fans of all races joining together as Americans to honor our service members," she said. "That's what the president is talking about. That's what his focus is on."
She thanked the audience and promptly left the briefing room.
Acosta has been a frequent critic of the Trump administration’s press operation, lambasting the past practice of holding hearings without cameras. Trump has also gone after Acosta, calling him "fake news" when he questioned him about the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va.
"I like real news. Not fake news. You're fake news," Trump said, pointing at Acosta.