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Photo: Astrid Riecken - Pool/Getty Images

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told Hugh Hewitt's radio show Monday that he believes President Trump will "get there" on understanding why professional athletes have kneeled in protest during the national anthem.

Why it matters: Trump has long condemned the protests — started by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to bring light to the issue of police brutality — and called them disrespectful to the anthem and members of the military.

The big picture: The NFL, which long opposed the protests, came around on the issue after continued pressure from players amid the ongoing larger protests in cities across the country against systemic racism and police brutality.

  • Carson, the sole black member of Trump's cabinet, told Hewitt that the president hasn't "manifested as much animosity" around the anthem protests recently.
  • Trump has tweeted or retweeted about athletes' anthem protests on multiple occasions this month.

Worth noting: Carson also said that he's not sure if the anthem protests "[need] to continue" because the issue of police brutality "has been brought to national attention."

  • He also said that he does not believe in continued systemic racism in the U.S.: "You know, I’ve seen systemic racism growing up. I mean, we are so much better than that now. Do we still have racist people? Of course. You know, you’re always going to have people who think superficially and don’t think deeply. But you know, that doesn’t mean that the whole system is corrupted and needs to be changed."

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Sep 9, 2020 - Sports

College football becomes a political proxy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

College football has become a key political issue as the 2020 election approaches, and the impending NFL season will only ratchet up the intensity around empty stadiums and player protests.

Why it matters: Football is America's most popular sport. And considering 43 of the top 50 most-watched TV broadcasts last year were football games, it's arguably our most popular form of entertainment, period.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.