Jun 5, 2018

The NFL gave an inch. Trump took a mile

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

President Trump has showed the NFL what happens when you cave to his culture war demands, taking on the Philadelphia Eagles even though none of the team's players kneeled during the National Anthem.

Why it matters: This president is willing to wage culture wars his predecessors wouldn't touch.

The tale of the tape:

  • September 2017: Trump seizes on kneeling as a political issue during the Alabama special Senate election. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b*tch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired!'"
  • October 2017: NFL owners sense they're on the losing side of the equation, and urge each other and players in a secret meeting to crack down on the kneelers.
  • May 2018: The NFL caves to Trump, announcing penalties for any team whose players kneel or protest on the field during the National Anthem.
  • Yesterday: Trump turns his ire on the Eagles. "They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart," he said in a statement.
  • Today: Trump uses the ceremony originally scheduled for the Eagles to play the National Anthem and "God Bless America," and the White House sends out a statement accusing the team of abandoning its fans.

P.S. As the NYTimes' Ken Belson reminds, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie warned the other owners at the time about the futility of appeasing Trump:

  • "Don’t pander to the president, he said, by clamping down on the players. Work with the players and tune out the noise. The president will do what he does regardless. 'We’ve got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whomever else,' he said at the meeting. 'We have to find a way to not be divided and not get baited.'"

The bottom line: The NFL is now learning — with Lurie's Eagles bearing the brunt of the blow, despite his warnings —  that Trump has no interest in gracefully accepting surrender in the culture wars.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 665,164 — Total deaths: 30,852 — Total recoveries: 140,225.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 124,665 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 1,095.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per the CDC, residents of those states must now "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by early Sunday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 mins ago - Health

Gilead expands access to experimental coronavirus drug in emergency cases

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said in an open letter Saturday the company is expanding access to its experimental anti-coronavirus drug remdesivir to include severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The big pig picture: President Trump has called the antiviral drug "promising," but the results of six clinical trials on this investigational medicine are still being conducted, so its effectiveness in COVID-19 the treatment has yet to be proved. The World Health Organization is involved in the tests.

Go deeperArrow27 mins ago - Health