I think the focus has long since changed and certainly the message in a lot of what has been communicated over these last several weeks through this process, through these protests by these players.
"I think that it's always appropriate for the president of the United States to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem and to defend the men and women who fought and died to defend it", said Sanders.
The North Korean foreign minister then told reporters that the president's words had been a declaration of war and that they had the right to shoot down American warplanes in global airspace. "Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.
That response prompted additional questions about the nature of the protests, specifically their goal of challenging police brutality, to which Sanders offered an off the cuff, haphazard response.
Asked why Trump tweeted more than a dozen times on Saturday and Sunday about the football controversy and not at all about a post-hurricane humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, Sanders said the president was "not emphasizing sports - you're missing the entire objective on the message". REPORTER: Sarah, can you just clarify the - were you saying that - are you encouraging National Football League players to protest police. That's not what I'm saying. "I'm not sure how those two things would be combined".
Speaking at a regular media briefing Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders contradicted claims made by the DPRK's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho earlier in the day.
"Not at all", Sanders insisted. "The president is talking about pride in our country". Even so, what the press secretary said before and after her nonsense regarding the issue's focus changing didn't fare any better.