According to the White House, President Joe Biden doesn’t have a problem with U.S. Olympic athletes protesting the U.S. flag or the U.S. national anthem.
Fox News reports that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki just defended U.S. track and Field athlete Gwen Berry’s recent protest of the U.S. flag and U.S. national anthem at the U.S. Olympic trials.
According to Fox, it was the outlet’s own White House correspondent, Peter Doocy, who, during Monday’s press conference, asked Psaki about Berry’s stunt. Doocy specifically asked Psaki whether President Biden thinks Berry’s behavior was appropriate for someone who hopes to represent Team USA.
“Well, Peter, I — I haven’t spoken to the President specifically about this, but I know he’s incredibly proud to be an American and has great respect for the Anthem and all that it represents, especially for our men and women serving in uniform all around the world,” Psaki began.
She continued by arguing that Berry was only exercising her Constitutional right to “peacefully protest,” and that Biden recognizes that right.
“He would also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we are — as a country, haven’t lived up to our highest ideals, and it means respecting the right of people, granted to them in the Constitution, to peacefully protest,” Psaki said.
Berry made headlines this past weekend for her actions at the U.S. Olympic trials. They took place when Berry was standing on the podium to receive the third place medal for the hammer throw event and the U.S. national anthem began to play.
Fox News recounted what Berry did:
While the music played, Berry placed her left hand on her hip and shuffled her feet. She took a quarter turn, so she was facing the stands, not the flag. Toward the end, she plucked up her black T-shirt with the words “Activist Athlete” emblazoned on the front, and draped it over her head.
As Breitbart reports, Berry’s anti-American protest earned her a lot of criticism, with some, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), arguing that Berry ought to be removed from the U.S. Olympic team.
“We don’t need any more activist athletes,” Crenshaw said. “She should be removed from the team. The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. It’s the entire point.”
Berry, though, doesn’t seem to care, saying, “the anthem doesn’t speak for me. It never has.”
Berry has declared that her purpose as an Olympic athlete is “bigger than sports.” She has defined that purpose as representing those who have been the victims of America’s “system racism.”