Appearing on Fox News, Jeffress — who spoke at Trump’s poorly attended inauguration — said players who directly rebuked Trump after he demanded that the NFL penalize them should “be thanking God” because they don’t have to worry about “being shot in the head for taking a knee like they would be if they were in North Korea.”
The comment, and its amplification on the pro-Trump conservative Fox News, comes as Americans continue to stand up against Trump’s authoritarian, dictatorial demands that that black athletes who dissent should not be allowed to make their voices heard.
JEFFRESS: I think what these players are doing is absolutely wrong. These players ought to be thanking God that they live in a country where they’re not only free to earn millions of dollars every year, but they’re also free from the worry of being shot in the head for taking a knee like they would be if they were in North Korea.
This is the sort of extreme commentary from Jeffress that made Trump say, “I love this guy.”
Over the years, Jeffress has used his position as a well-known megachurch pastor and as a Fox contributor to push hate, particularly religious bigotry.
He called Catholicism a “cult-like, pagan religion,” and said it was “counterfeit.” He declared that belief in “Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism” will lead people into “hell.”
He has also said gay people lead a “miserable lifestyle” and said “what they do is filthy” and “degrading.” He even compared the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality to what the German Nazi state did to Jews.
These outbursts did not stop Trump from embracing Jeffress and making him part of his inner circle as he rose to power on the right. In exchange, Jeffress helped to keep the “Christian right” in line as Trump’s past of sexual assault was exposed.
The latest round of comments show that Trump’s closest defenders will often sound as outrageous and reprehensible as he does while attacking anyone who dares to defy him.