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Paul Ryan Calls Out Anthem Protests as Being ‘Misguided’

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said Thursday that while NFL players have First Amendment rights to express their opinions, but he believes players protesting during the national anthem are “misguided.”

Ryan was asked by reporters during his news conference whether he agreed with Trump’s critical comments last week toward players who protest the anthem.

“I think it’s misguided to protest the anthem or the flag, because people don’t see it as an issue, as some political issue — they see it as protesting against the people who have given their lives for this country and the ideals we all strive for to make a more perfect union,” Ryan said. “And so that’s the point I think some people are missing in this debate.”

Ryan defended Trump’s stance, saying protests are perceived as disrespectful because they directly involve the American flag and national anthem.

“What I don’t think people see from the get-go is when you do it on the flag and the anthem, it looks like you’re protesting against the ideals of America, the patriotism, the people who put their lives on the line, giving their life for the country,” Ryan said.

Ryan did make it clear that all Americans are afforded rights under the Constitution to protest and express their personal beliefs.

“Clearly people have a right to express themselves; that is the First Amendment,” Ryan said.