Trump defends himself over Puerto Rico: 'I wasn't preoccupied with the NFL'

Trump: I wasn't preoccupied with the NFL
Trump: I wasn't preoccupied with the NFL

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Trump: I wasn't preoccupied with the NFL 00:58

Story highlights

  • Trump is currently embroiled in a five-day controversy with the NFL
  • "Was I preoccupied? Not at all. Not at all. I have plenty of time on my hands," Trump said

(CNN)President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has "not at all" been "preoccupied" by the NFL and the controversy surrounding the National Anthem.

"I wasn't preoccupied with the NFL," Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden. "I was ashamed of what was taking place."
Trump is currently embroiled in a five-day controversy with the NFL since he first commented on players protesting the National Anthem at a rally in Alabama on Friday. Between Friday and midday Tuesday, Trump tweeted 24 times about the NFL, but only four times about Puerto Rico, which has been plunged into a humanitarian crisis in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
    "Was I preoccupied? Not at all. Not at all. I have plenty of time on my hands," Trump said defending his time spent on the subject. "All I do is work."
    Trump specifically defended himself against claims he was distracted from responding to the devastation in Puerto Rico, calling himself "totally focused".
    "The governor said we are doing a great job," Trump said, adding that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló "thanked me specifically for FEMA."
    Trump -- while holding a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy -- also reiterated his belief that it is "very important" that the NFL should not allow people to kneel during the National Anthem, calling it "disgraceful."
    "I don't think you can disrespect our country, our flag, our National Anthem. To me, the NFL situation is a very important situation," Trump said.