Patriotism being the last refuge of a scoundrel, it’s safe to say that Donald Trump regards it as a fortified (and even absurd) bunker. Facing increasing pressure from Robert Mueller’s investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by the White House and Trump campaigns, Trump called a play-action Monday with what he clearly thinks is a winning issue: attacking African-American athletes who take a knee or stay in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem. Specifically, he disinvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from paying a traditional visit to the White House. As it happens, none of the Eagles took a knee during the regular season (though Fox News did its best to make it look otherwise). Further, the president’s continued, intentional misrepresentations about the players’ motives (they hate the flag, don’t respect America, insult the military, etc) serve no purpose other than to split the country along racial, cultural and geographic lines and shore up his base.

This, of course, serves no one but Trump, which is just as he’d have it.