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Former OU quarterback, Oklahoma congressman criticizes politicians for silence on Trump, racial issues

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President Donald Trump

FILE - President Donald Trump listens during a meeting on health care March 13. 

A former OU quarterback and Oklahoma congressman criticized current Republican members of the House of Representatives during an interview on "Meet the Press" Sunday morning for not speaking out against President Donald Trump and his comments on white nationalism.

J.C. Watts said the silence from Republican leaders makes it appear as though they agree with white supremacy and the KKK, even if they do not.

"If they are silent, they wear the cap — either intentionally or unintentionally — they wear the cap saying, ‘we agree with that,’" Watts said.

Watts also said that in Trump's refusal to initially speak out against racism, he was showing the United States' values. 

Watts was elected to Congress in 1995 and served as the House Republican Conference chairman from 1999-2003. He agreed to be on the show after other members of Congress and the White House staff declined to discuss Trump's actions in the past week, including his remarks on the Charlottesville, Virginia, rally. 

"My conscience would not allow me to keep quiet. And when I was asked my thoughts on this issue, I chose to speak out simply because I think all presidents have what we call, what I call 'right now moments,'" Watts said. "And inevitably, Republicans, Democrats, every president's going to have a 'right now moment.' And I think President Trump had a 'right now moment' last weekend, and I don't think he responded the right way."

The former congressman, however, did thank Republican Senators Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for speaking out against Trump's statements. 

Watts played three seasons for the Sooners from 1978-1980. He finished his career with 2,081 yards, nine touchdowns, 1,322 rushing yards, 34 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. 

assistant sports editor

Jadyn Watson-Fisher is a journalism senior and is the assistant sports editor at the OU Daily.

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