On Monday, President Donald Trump made headlines after he appeared to fumble through singing the national anthem at the NCAA Football Championship game in Atlanta. After a video of the incident went viral, response online manifested in a combination of bemusement and anger. Within a day, at least one parody making fun of Trump singing the national anthem by "Bad Lip Reading" began to circulate.
On Tuesday, the producer behind the account ran a spoof analysis of what Trump might have been singing when he was supposed to be singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." "Beautiful Tanya / your little feet were so thin," were among some of the suggested potential lyrics sung by the president; "Oh Donna's a sugar packet / Banana whiff" followed.
On Monday, many Twitter users were quick to question whether Trump actually knew the lyrics to the song, as he is seen on video with his mouth closed during some lines, but clearly articulating others. Questions about whether Trump knows the lyrics by heart were compounded by his history for heavily politicizing the anthem.
Trump has previously said that professional football players who do not stand for the song before games should be fired from their league; Twitter was quick to point out this potential double standard.
"Donald Trump doesn't even KNOW the national anthem after castigating black athletes for kneeling during it!" tweeted New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow. "Do you know how much grief Obama would have taken for not knowing these words? The denouncements would gave been deafening..."
Other critics echoed similar sentiments. "Trump knew he was going to a football game to perform patriotism during the singing of the national anthem and STILL didn't bother to prepare," tweeted writer Akilah Green. "Ooowee, Lord, give me the confidence of a below average white man."
Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., however, tweeted praise for his father. "And that folks is how it's done. It's not that hard. Just show some respect for your country," he said, followed by a series of hashtags.
Back in September, Trump said that the NFL team owners should fire any player who "disrespects our flag" by not standing during the national anthem. He also referred to individuals who participate in the "take a knee" protests as a "son of a b*tch."
Back in 2016, as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick made headlines for refusing to stand while the national anthem played before games. When asked, he specifically said he was protesting police brutality and the widespread oppression of minorities in the United States.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL.com back in 2016.
After Kaepernick's initial protests, the "take a knee" protest spread, picking up plenty of momentum in 2017. As various sports seasons played out, the protest transcended the NFL and appeared in various forms in a series of other leagues and sports, from high school football to professional hockey.
Opponents, including Trump, characterized the protests as unpatriotic and framed them as disrespectful to the American flag and anthem. However, athletes kneeling have repeatedly said that they were protesting racial oppression and police brutality, and often argued that their decision to do so was protected under the First Amendment.
That the president of the United States would be caught on video appearing to abstain from singing the national anthem at a sporting event, after making himself one of the movement's most vocal opponents, clearly upset many viewers. While it's not clear whether Trump didn't know the words or simply didn't feel like singing, footage of the event didn't sit well with Twitter users. And, as has has been common for much of the first year of this presidential administration, they reverted to satire to voice their frustrations.