President Donald Trump weighed in on the new rule the NFL established on Wednesday, which dictates that players must stand for the national anthem or face fines, and questioned such players’ patriotism.

Trump Criticizes NFL Players Who Protest Anthem

While speaking to Fox News,Trump said these types of players “shouldn’t be in the country.” The president also decried the NFL’s announcement that players can choose to remain in the locker room during the anthem as an alternative to kneeling.

“I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms,” said Trump.

Trump has repeatedly slammed football players, teams and owners who engage in national anthem protests by kneeling or sitting. The NFL-wide protests that began in September 2017 — launched to mirror the still-banned Colin Kaepernicks infamous decision to sit during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before an August 2016 preseason game — spurred great controversy and were also replicated in other major sports leagues. Kaepernick first protested the anthem to make a statement on racial injustice and frequent police brutality against people of color. Trump and many other notable conservatives blasted the protests as disrespectful to the flag, anthem and even military veterans.

Many former military members, however, were not offended by the free-agent quarterback’s decision, and even started a hashtag on social media to voice support for him: #VeteransforKaepernick.

Trump, however, said that if he were in charge of any NFL team, he would fine or fire players who participated in anthem protests. The president also said that locking arms while standing was an acceptable form of protest.

“Get that son of a b— off the field,” Trump said late last year of kneeling players like Kaepernick. “You’re fired!” he added, invoking his famous catchphrase from The Apprentice. 

Other members of Trump’s administration, including vice president Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchinhave also criticized the anthem protests. Mnuchin said players “can do free speech on their own time.”

Pence commented on the NFL’s new rule on Twitter, simply showing a photo of a headline about the news and adding the hashtag “#Winning.”

The NFL Players Association said in a statement that it would evaluate the new rule and contest any part of it “inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”

One former college football player, University of Missouri product Dominique Hamilton, noted in a tweet the high proportion of black NFL players:

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