STAGECRAFT: White House photographer was in place for Mike Pence's pre-planned publicity stunt — a football game walkout following the National Anthem during which some players took a knee.

It’s disrespectful to use the National Anthem to make a political point says Mike Pence, who did just that Sunday with a publicity stunt — a pre-planned walkout from an NFL game at the urging of Donald Trump. He knew some players would take a knee during the National Anthem and he knew he’d walk out after they did.

Pence had to spend several hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer money to make the visit to Indianapolis and then head back to the West Coast to help raise money for Russia’s best friend in Congress, Dana Rohrabacher.


All this was done at the urging of Trump and with his Tweeted cheering afterward. And it seems uncoincidental that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones chimed in afterward with notice of the Pence publicity stunt and the statement that no Dallas Cowboy who disrespected the flag would play for his team.

Those who follow the Internet closely know all these details. But the flat wire service account in the D-G this morning didn’t quite capture the full context of the political theater.


Jerry Jones’ entry into the affair to help Trump — after he joined his team in a pre-Anthem kneel last week — further slices and dices the trumped-up controversy. Is it disrespectful to raise a clenched fist AFTER playing of the National Anthem, as members of this team has done? How long is the cooling-off period? Is it disrespectful not to join the team on the field until after the anthem — once standard NFL practice but now being done by a few? Are expressions of dissent off the field and out of uniform sufficiently “disrespectful” for team discipline? If kneeling is disrespectful, what about criticism of the commander in chief?

I liked the Twitter suggestion that all should kneel and pray whenever Mike Pence or Donald Trump enter a room. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee might provide an “amen”. He gave a remarkable interview about the threat Trump poses yesterday to touch off World War III.


PS ON OUTRAGES: A respectful knee as a symbol of lingering inequality offends MIke Pence and Donald Trump. Continuing demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., by racists do not. And they’ve also been silent on the film that’s emerged of a black suspect in a minor incident being shot in the back by Utah police. Mike Pence might understand why they kneel if he gave it a look.