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Treasury Sec'y Mnuchin's NFL comments best reveal the dangerous, ignorant rot of this administration

4 min read

“Foreclosure King” and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had some deeply dumb — but lap-dog loyal — things to say about President Trump’s NFL comments on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.  His brief comments on this subject were so wrong, so facile and so destructive that they deserve special attention.  

RADDATZ: And let's bring in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

With all the urgent issues — Korea, health care, why is the president even talking about NFL players and disinviting NBA players to the White House?

STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Good morning, it's great to be here with you.

You know, the NFL has all different types of rules — you can't have stickers on your helmet. You have to have your jerseys tucked in. I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem. This isn't about Democrats, it's not about Republicans, it's not about race, it's not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time, that this is about respect for the military and the first responders and the country.

  • “This is about respect for the military and the first responders and the country”??  Boy, it didn't take 24 hours for these guys to pull their fascist boots on.
  • How the f*ck does Steven Mnuchin get to speak on behalf of the entire military? What balls does he have to appropriate the views of nearly 1.5 million enlisted military members as monolithically (or even majority) supporting his political talking points?   The next Republican who tries this again needs to be cut off at the knees.
  • Relatedly, how the f*ck does Steven Mnuchin get to appropriate the moral authority of all the “first responders”?  Does he even know one of them?  And if he is invoking 9-11, I have family members and friends who belong to that group and it is knowingly dishonest — disgusting even — for Mr. Mnuchin to believe that he can speak for them or count on them as his supporters.
  • It takes a special breed of asshole to go on national TV as Treasury Secretary to defend the actions of the President calling for the firing of African-American athletes for expressing political views that the administration disagrees with . . . and then say “its not about race, its not about free speech.”  Steve Mnuchin is that special breed of asshole.
  • “They can do free speech on their own time” must be one of the stupidest and most dangerous statements from a high level federal official in a long time.  But if what he said is true, WTF is the Treasury Secretary doing weighing in on this topic himself?  Is appearing on a Sunday news show an example of Mnuchin’s “free time”?    

RADDATZ: The president is calling them SOBs. Is that the kind of language, no matter how you feel about the issue, that he should be using?

MNUCHIN: I think the president can use whatever language he wants to use. I think the issue is the topic, OK. And the topic — I agree with the president why are the — why does the NFL have all these other rules that they enforce, that they fine players? This is about respect for the military, the first responders.

I was down at the 9/11 memorial . . . 

  • “I was down at the 9/11 memorial . . . .”  Again, what a special breed of asshole.
  • Of course, the President can say whatever he wants, and should not even be criticized; African-American athletes speaking out about racial injustice?  Fire the SOBs!
  • BTW — as many have pointed out before, Trump’s entire, months long campaign was that “America was no longer great.”  Indeed, our generals were idiots, our Gold Star families were unpatriotic, and the national landscape was described as “carnage.”  Maybe those kneeling are Trump supporters?

RADDATZ: Is it not about the first amendment, is it not about their first amendment rights?

MNUCHIN: No, it's not. They have the right to have the first amendment off the field.

This is a job. And the employers have the right, when the players are working, to have rules. So, you know, why didn't they wear stickers? Why didn't the Dallas Cowboys, why were they allowed to wear stickers in response to people they wanted to pay respect to?

So, the NFL is picking and choosing what they want to enforce. And the president says — for a long time the national anthem, this isn't about politics, this is about respect for the country and the people who have made great, great sacrifices for this country.

. . . . I think the president was trying to unify the country, because the national anthem is about unification. And I think the owners have the right, they should have a meeting. They should decide. They make the rules, and they should decide.

  • This is where the dysfunction gets honest and deep.  We don’t have First Amendment rights on the job or separate from our employer’s wishes.  Our employers should decide what can or cannot be said during work hours.  Controlling and curtailing First Amendment free speech is no different than rules about work uniforms or stickers.   The owners “make the rules, and they should decide.”  And what will that leave us with?  Unity. 
  • While fetishizing “owners,” notice that Secretary Mnuchin doesn't acknowledge the agency and power of either the individual athletes or the collective bargaining power of their union.  No, owners have the “right” and “they should decide.” 

As evidenced by his entire private practice and short public stint, Steven Mnuchin is a morally stunted, destructive and useless man.  He is singularly marked by having nothing to offer, and has spent a lifetime proving that.  He is, also, a perfect fit for this administration.

If you are inclined, watch the interview below:

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