On Monday, Nike revealed that it had chosen former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its new “Just Do It” ad campaign. The shoe company’s decision (to honor an African-American athlete who had the temerity to quietly call attention to America’s aberrantly high rate of police violence during the national anthem) did not sit well with the Trumpenproletariat. Many expressed their outrage by cutting up their own socks and setting fire to their sneakers.
And yet, the Kaepernick-hater-in-chief was oddly silent. Since he first opined on the national anthem controversy last year, president Trump has rarely missed an opportunity to reiterate his disgust at the NFL’s failure to purge the league of ungrateful millionaires who disrespect our troops (by quietly calling attention to America’s aberrantly high rate of police violence). And yet, the revelation that Kaepernick had parlayed his protest into a lucrative endorsement deal did not elicit a single tweet from Trump Monday night or Tuesday morning.
In an interview with the Daily Caller Tuesday afternoon, the president (inadvertently?) offered a persuasive explanation for his aberrant restraint:
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Nike sent a “terrible message” this week by making former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick one of the faces representing the 30th anniversary of the company’s “Just Do It” campaign. But he also said the company’s ability to make its own business decisions “is what this country is all about.”
“I think it’s a terrible message. Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent,” Trump said, referring to Niketown New York, which is — for now — located at 6 East 57th Street in New York City.
Previously, Trump has been quite clear that he does not believe the NFL’s ability to make business decisions he disagrees with “is what this country is all about.” So, it’s safe to assume that his newfound appreciation for freedom of contract is a product of his own contract with Nike (or, at least, his belief that he has a contract with Nike).
Donald Trump is the most dishonest president in American history 95 percent of the time. But during that other 5 percent, his shamelessness — and utter dearth of impulse control — renders him the most disarmingly (and self-destructively) honest public figure in modern memory.