OPINION | Barry Richard: Trump Flag Hug Generates Mixed Reaction
A video showing President Donald Trump embracing the American Flag following a speech to business leaders on Tuesday has taken the internet by storm, and has evoked some interesting responses.
Trump addressed some prickly issues dominating the news these days, including a controversial border security policy and a growing threat of a trade war with the Chinese, as he appeared at the National Federation of Independent Business' 75th Anniversary celebration in Washington. Much of the speech reflected Trump's fervent belief and guiding principle of "America first."
The flag hug touched supporters and detractors in different ways on Twitter, with some expressing support while others were outraged.
Affection for the American flag has re-emerged as an issue since NFL players began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. Many, including Trump, have found the practice to be disrespectful.
Trump is not the only politician to have a flag issue. Ronald Reagan was accused of wrapping himself in the flag for political reasons.
Democrats were hammered at the 2016 party convention for barely displaying the flag on stage until, of course, Republican media called them out for it. The next night, the stage was full of American flags.
It's really too bad, though. The flag, while merely a symbol of what it is we Americans stand for, is one thing that seems to unite us. While we quibble and quarrel over who loves and respects the flag more, there is little that seems to bring us all together in quite the same way.
Who can forget, when in the days following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs gathered on sidewalks, parks, and anywhere else they could to wave Old Glory as a sign of respect, pride, and solidarity. I wished then that we could bottle that spirit, so we'd have it to uncork on days such as these.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.