Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee joined scores of protesting athletes and defended the First Amendment as she took a knee on the House floor.
“There is no basis in the First Amendment that says you cannot kneel on the National Anthem or in front of the flag,” the Texas democrat said while presenting a special order of the Congressional Black Caucus.
President Trump sparked a firestorm across the political and sports worlds on Friday when he said NFL owners should fire athletes who refuse to stand for the anthem.
“Get that son of a b---- off the field,” he said during a campaign rally for Alabama Sen. Luther Strange.
The comment appeared to be aimed at former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick — though he did not mention him by name specifically — who refused to stand for the anthem last year to protest police brutality against people of color.
From the ground, Lee explained that she kneeled to honor freedom.
“I kneel in honor of the first amendment, I kneel because the flag is symbol for freedom, I kneel because I’m going to stand against racism, I kneel because I’m going to stand with these young men and I’ll stand with our soldiers,” she said. “And I’ll stand with America because I kneel.”
The sentiment was echoed by fellow Black Caucus member Rep. John Lewis, who later tweeted that there is "nothing wrong with kneeling down to stand up against injustice.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 21: U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee serves as a panelist at the National Town Hall at Walter E. Washington Convention Center on September 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 27: House Judiciary Committee ranking member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) speaks while flanked by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) (L) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) during a news conference on Capitol Hill, July 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. House Judiciary committee democrats introduced the H.RES.474 Jackson Lee resolution which condemns any action by the president to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, or abusing the presidential pardon powers. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 20: U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee speaks onstage at the Press Conference for the 47th Annual Legislative Conference at Walter E. Washington Convention Center on September 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 20: Marc Veasey, A. Shuanise Washington, Sheila Jackson Lee, Robin Kelly and Cedric Richmond attend the 47th Annual Legislative Press Conference at Walter E. Washington Convention Center on September 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 03: (L-R) Former RNC chair Michael Steele; Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus appear on SiriusXM's Joe Madison show on Urban View, A Roundtable Of Veteran Journalists, Politicians & Political Commentators, to discuss President Trump's First 100 Days, at SiriusXM DC Performance Space on May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX, ranking member on Homeland Security Committee's Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee, speaks following a meeting of the Democratic Caucus in the House Visitor Center of the US Capitol on July 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 30: Reps. Gene Green, D-Texas, and Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, confer during the testimony of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Rayburn Building on the failures of Affordable Care Act's enrollment website. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 1: Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) listens to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) during Moms Demand Action: For Gun Sense in American event on Capitol Hill Thursday, August 1, 2013. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22: U.S. Representative for Texas's 18th congressional district, Sheila Jackson Lee attends Aretha Franklin's 72nd Birthday Celebration on March 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/FilmMagic)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Janice McNair, Robert McNair and Sheila Jackson Lee attend The 2nd Annual UNICEF Audrey Hepburn Society Ball Presented to Robert & Janice McNair at the at Wortham Center Brown Theater on October 14, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images for U.S. Fund for UNICEF)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, as Senators arrive for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 29: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act, July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage among other benefits that would help low-income workers. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 16: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and women members of the Congressional Tri-Caucus (Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus) hold a news conference on the Violence Against Women Act in the Capitol on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has a word with the parents of Trayvon Martin - Tracy Martin, L, and Sybrina Fulton - at a House Judiciary Committee briefing on racial profiling and hate crimes at the Rayburn House Office Building on March 27, 2012, in Washington, DC. The briefing will assess the role of the federal government regarding racial profiling and hate crime issues, specifically as it relates to the case of Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington, DC - July, 28: Representatives John Garamendi(D-CA), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D - TX), and Donna Edwards(D-MD) wait to speak as federal employees and progressive groups gather in front of the Capitol to urge lawmakers to come to a fair deal on the budget on July, 28, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Joyce Moore attend the GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards at The Liaison Hotel on April 13, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage for NARAS)
UNITED STATES ï¿½FEBRUARY 8: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaks during a House Democrats press conference on abortion rights before the start of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on H.R.3, the 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,' on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)
US Congressional Democrats Rep. Jim Moran (L) of Virginia, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy(2nd-L) of New York, Rep. Jose Serrano(3rd-L) of New York, Senator Charles E. Schumer (4th-R) of New York, Rep. Carolyn Malone (3rd-L) of New York and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas listen while New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg speaks during a press conference on the House Triangle on Capitol Hill March 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Bloomberg, Co-Chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and members of the U.S. Congress to speak about House legislation intended to improve the background check system for firearm sales. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 27: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C) greets Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) on the floor of the House of Representatives before President Barack Obama was to deliver his first State of the Union speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill January 27, 2010l in Washington, DC. Since taking office a little over a year ago, Obama's approval ratings have dropped significantly according to recent polls. (Photo by Tim Sloan-Pool/Getty Images)
US Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) holds a news conference on the state attorneys general lawsuits against health care reform in the House Radio/TV Gallery on March 25, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO / Tim Sloan (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Angela Burt-Murray,Tina Knowles and Sheila Jackson Lee (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 16: U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) speaks during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee October 16, 2007 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The hearing was to focus on 'Jena Six,' the six black high school students in Jena, Louisiana who were arrested for a school fight in which a white student was beaten and charged with attempted murder. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 16: U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) holds up a copy of the report published by the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina as (L-R) Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) looks on during a news conference on federal government's preparation and response to Hurricane Katrina on Capitol Hill February 16, 2006 in Washington, DC. The members of the Congressional Black Caucus held a news conference to respond to the report. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: Film maker Michael Moore (L) makes remarks at a press conference sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus to talk about the war in Iraq and censorship is joined by Reps. Charles Rangel (C) and Sheila Jackson Lee 24 June, 2004, outside the Canon Congressional Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Moores' documentary film 'Fahrenheit 9/11' premiered in Washington 23 June. AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
CRAWFORD, TX - AUGUST 22: U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) spends a quiet moment in front of the crosses that represent soldiers killed in Iraq during the anti-war rally near the U.S. President George W. Bush's ranch August 22, 2005 in Crawford, Texas. The anti-war gathering began when Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq, setup a vigil asking to speak with the U.S. President George W. Bush. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 11: STROLLER PARADE--Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund, lead the Children's Defense Fund Stroller Parade to Leave No Child Behind from the Upper Senate Park to the Cannon office of Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. On the stroller are bags of mock checks for $154 each to poor children -- stamped with 'VOIDED To pay for massive millionaire tax breaks' -- they say should have been part of the recent tax cut bill. They delivered the bags to DeLay's office. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 16: HOUSE DEMOCRATIC RALLY ON ECONOMY--Grace F. Napolitano, D-Calif., Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other House Democrats cheer during a rally on the economy in the Cannon Caucus Room. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, : US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and US Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA) hold a press conference 04 April 2001 on Capitol Hill to announce a new bill that will grant Gao Zhan, an American University Scholar held in China, United States citizenship. AFP PHOTO/SHAWN THEW (Photo credit should read SHAWN THEW/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, : US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX (C) walks with Mariela Quintana (L) and Raquel Rodriguez (R), the Cuban grandmothers of six-year-old Elian Gonzalez, 27 January, 2000, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The grandmothers spent the day urging lawmakers to support efforts to return the boy to his father in Cuba. Others are unidentified. AFP PHOTO/MANNY CENETA (Photo credit should read MANNY CENETA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Athletes all over the country offered their own form of protest — some of them raising a fist while others linked arms during the anthem — in wake of Trump’s comments.
The President continued his Twitter rant through the weekend, blaming the NFL’s poor ratings on the demonstrations.
During her brief address, Lee questioned Trump’s leadership and wondered whether he understood the message behind taking a knee.
“I refuse to accept that as a standard of leadership for the highest office in the world, and even if you never understand it sir ... we will continue to stand in the gap and racism is going to be under our foot,” she said. “And you know where else it’s going to be? Under our knee.”