Wake County

Wake County elected leader calls Trump a white supremacist

More NFL players sit, take a knee following Trump criticism

During President Donald Trump's speech at a rally in Huntsville, Ala. on Sept. 22, 2017, he said any player that sits during the national anthem is a "son of a bitch." The president also rescinded NBA champ Stephen Curry's invitation to the White
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During President Donald Trump's speech at a rally in Huntsville, Ala. on Sept. 22, 2017, he said any player that sits during the national anthem is a "son of a bitch." The president also rescinded NBA champ Stephen Curry's invitation to the White

After President Donald Trump said Friday that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired, some public figures condemned both Trump’s message and the crude words he used to deliver it.

Wake County Commissioner John Burns added his voice to the fray Saturday.

“If you are angrier at football players who kneel than you were at a racist terrorist, you, sir, are a white supremacist,” Burns wrote on Twitter, contrasting Trump’s use of the phrase “son of a b----” to describe protesting NFL players with the milder language he has used to describe self-avowed white nationalists who hosted a rally in Charlottesville, Va.

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Wake County Commissioner John Burns, seen here at a joint meeting with the school board in February 2016. Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com

ESPN anchor Jemele Hill’s use of the same term led Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders to call for her firing.

“If you want to deny being a white supremacist, you need to make sure that your reaction to African-Americans expressing their views is less harsh than your response to terrorists running people down in the streets,” Burns said in an interview Monday. “The attitude portrayed by the president this weekend was one that I thought needed to be called out, and I won’t be hesitant to do that.”

Over the weekend, Burns retweeted others who criticized Trump. He also called on the president to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

“We have many, many Puerto Ricans in Wake County, and their family and friends are suffering,” Burns said on Monday. “And the president is tweeting about NASCAR and the NFL, and not people in desperate, desperate need.”

Burns, an attorney at a Raleigh law firm, was first elected to the Wake Board of Commissioners in 2014. He graduated from Davidson College, which is the alma mater of Golden State Warriors NBA star Stephen Curry, whose hesitation to accept an invitation to the White House earned him a pointed tweet from the president Saturday rescinding that invitation.

Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan

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