NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Trump is defending his criticism of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, the president was asked on Tuesday if he’s been too preoccupied with the issue while ignoring other major concerns.
“I’ve heard that before, about I was preoccupied, not at all. I have plenty of time on my hands, all I do is work, and to be honest with you that is an important function of work, it’s called respect for our country,” Trump said as he took questions from reporters in the Rose Garden with the Prime Minister of Spain.
He said he recently visited Walter Reed Military Medical Center, where so many soldiers are treated for grievous injuries.
“They are missing arms and legs and they were so badly injured, and they were fighting for our country, our flag, they were fighting for our national anthem, and for people to disrespect that by kneeling during the playing of our national anthem I think is disgraceful,” Trump said.
The president did not address the battle to scrap the Affordable Care Act. There will be no vote this week in the Senate on the so-called Graham-Cassidy health care bill, the GOP’s latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona shook his head and said “no” when asked about plans for a vote as senators emerged from a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.
Earlier, President Donald Trump slammed Republican holdouts who oppose the healthcare bill, acknowledging it may not pass this week as planned.
“At some point there will be a repeal and replace but will see whether or not that point is now or will it be shortly thereafter, but we are disappointed in so-called Republicans,” Trump said Tuesday morning.
On Monday, four GOP senators said they could not support the revision to the Graham-Cassidy proposal, effectively killing it. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joined Sens. John McCain, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.
Collins pointed to the bill’s massive cuts to Medicaid.
“It would have changed the program in a way that would have put healthcare at risk for some of our most vulnerable citizens including disabled children and low-income seniors,” she told reporters.
Democrats say they want to work on a bi-partisan solution.
“Once this repeal effort is gone, we are willing, eager, to sit down and come up with bipartisan improvements,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said.
But Republicans insist the current structure must be repealed.
Trump was also asked Tuesday about North Korea’s threats to shoot down US planes in international airspace.
“We are totally prepared for the second option, not a preferred option but if we take that option it will be devastating, I can tell you that. Devastating for North Korea,” he said. “If we have to take that option, we will.”
“You have various administrations, many administrations that have left me a mess,” Trump added. “I will fix the mess.”
The president is in New York City Tuesday evening for a fundraiser, and says he will announce his tax reform plan on Wednesday, one which he says will have a middle class tax cut, a lower tax rate for business, and an increase to the child tax credit.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)