Donald Trump has become embroiled in his own national anthem controversy having spent months condemning NFL players for “disrespecting” war vets by taking a knee in protest before kick-off.
The US President was appearing at the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta when TV coverage caught him appearing to take long, silent pauses while singing the Star Spangled Banner in what has been labelled a “gross display of hypocrisy”.
“Disgraceful for any president, but particularly bad given his months of race-baiting rants against NFL players,” one critic wrote on social media.
The US President started out with vigor, managing “oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light... proudly we hailed,” but then the words he was singing became less obvious, before he stopped altogether, and placed his hand on his chest.
Just hours earlier, during a speech in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump reiterated that we “want our national anthem respected”, before arriving at the football to a chorus of boos.
Given Trump’s stance on NFL players using the anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality, the president’s performance was heavily criticised on social media, where his recent boasts of being a “stable genius” were also seized upon.
There was further controversy when an Alabama running back was reportedly picked up by microphones dismissing the Trump with a shouted expletive.
There was no kneeling before the Alabama game, as college players remain in their locker rooms while the anthem is sung.