Leland Melvin, the retired NASA astronaut behind a famously adorable portrait featuring his two dogs, is calling out President Donald Trump for his attacks on protesting athletes.
Melvin, a graduate of the University of Virginia, noted that Trump defended some of the white supremacists responsible for a weekend of violence in Charlottesville last month.
“You actually said there were nice people on both sides,” Melvin wrote on Facebook. “People armed and ready to kill other Americans for the purpose of eradicating Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Mexicans, Asians, Latinas and even the first real Americans, Native Americans to make America Great Again were ‘nice people’?”
Those words, Melvin pointed out, stand in sharp contrast to the president’s harsh verbal attacks on peaceful protesters such as former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem before games.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired?’” Trump said at a rally in Alabama on Friday.
Melvin wrote on Saturday:
“You are basically calling his white mother a bitch. The strong contrast in language for a black man and a Nazi is very telling. Do you have any sense of decency or shame in what you say to the American people that are part of your duty to serve respectfully with dignity, presidentially?”
“Donald Trump please know that you are supposed to be a unifier and a compassionate and empathetic leader. If you can’t do the job then please step down and let someone else try,” he wrote. “I pray that you do the right thing. May God bless you.”
In addition to the orbital perspective, Melvin brings some football perspective to the issue: He was drafted by the Lions and also invited to the Cowboys camp, but due to injuries never played in any regular season games.