Treasury Secretary: NFL players can have First Amendment rights 'off the field'

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discusses President Trump's NFL comments, North Korean nuclear threats and more on "This Week" Sunday.
8:31 | 09/24/17

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Transcript for Treasury Secretary: NFL players can have First Amendment rights 'off the field'
And let's bring in treasury secretary Steven mnuchin. With all the urgent issues, why is the president etch talking about NFL players and disinviting NBA players to the white house? Good morning, it's great to be here with you. The NFL has all types of rules. You can't have stickers on your helmet. You have to have your Jerseys tucked in. I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem. This not about Democrats. Republicans. Not about race. It's not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time. That this is about respect for the military. And the first responders and the country. The president is calling them S.O.B.S. Is that the kind of language, no matter how you feel about the issue, that he should be using? I think the president can use whatever language he wants to use. I think the issue is the topic. Okay. And the topic, I agree with the president. Why are the -- why does the NFL have all these other rules that they enforce, that they fine players? This is about respect for the military, the first responders. I was at the 9/11 memorial. Is it not about their first amendment rights? No, it's not. They have the right to have the first amendment off the field. This is a job. The employers have a right, when the players are working, to have rules. Why didn't they wear stickers? Why weren't the dal cowboys allowed to wear stick NERs support? This is not about politic. It's about respect for the country and the people that have made great, great sacrifices for the country. Let's talk about the NFL. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell calls the president's comments divisive. Before the S.O.B. Comments. The latest abc/"washington post" poll shows 66% feel he has done more to divide the country than unite it. You to see these kinds of statements unite the country? We have Bob Kraft saying I am deeply does appointed by the tone of the the comments made by the president on Friday. I'm proud to be associated with so many player who is make such tremendous contributions in positively impacts our communities. I think our political leaders could learn lot from the lessons of team work and the importance of working together toward a common goal. I support they're right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful. We're talking about dividing the country. Is this a ewe fire? I think the president was trying to unify the country. Because the national anthem is about unification. I think the owners have the right. They should have a meeting. Decide. They make the rules. They should decide. Many of those owners sound like they have already decided this is a right the players have. Some of them have. They should all meet. They should decide. And I'm happy to you can that about this all morning. But I would be happy to talk about North Korea, taxes, all the other things we're trying to do for the American people. I want to turn to North Korea right now. What will we accomplish by sending the b-1 bombers further north than they have been in the 21st century? It was great experience being at the united nations general assembly this week with the president. I sat next to secretary tillerson and ambassador Haley. Sitting in that room, you realize how important all these issues are. I think the president did two important things. One, he explained what America first means. It mean that as president, he is responsible for Americans first. But that he also wants to work with the world community. The second thing is he used the opportunity to talk about two very difficult situations. One is North Korea. The other is Iran. And we're very happy that the security council came through 15-0, to put sanctions on north Korea. Let's go -- can we go back to the question? What do you think we'll accomplish by sending those bombers? Think the president has said everything is on the table. So this week, the president signed an executive order that aloud me to issue the most strong sanctions that have ever been done. I can cut off financial institutions. Anywhere in the world. That support North Korea. The military is one form. Economics is another form. The president will pursue all the options. I think it's unbelievable that the government of North Korea said this week they may test a hydrogen bomb above the pacific ocean. That is something that even in the world should be completely put off on and unify against. How should the U.S. Respond if he does something like that? I am obviously subject -- I'm a member of the national security council. I'm privy to plans. I won't comment about that on this show. The president has said all the options are on the table. The president has lots of alternatives that have been presented to him. He'll make decisions at the time. You know, we know so little about Kim Jong-un. We do know this is about his personal reputation. It's the core of his leadership. So this back and forth provocation, making it very personal. The president made it very personal. He also said that he would totally destroy North Korea. So, might this be provoking him too far? Might this make the situation worse? Not at all. This is not about personalities. This is not personal. This is about someone testing nuclear weapons, a high drone general bomb. This is about sending ballistic missiles across Japan's air space. These things are not going to be continued to be allowed. The president has made that very clear. And the the rest of the world has made it very clear at the security council. This behavior is unacceptable. Is nuclear war possible? This is a very frightening concept to Americans. 62% of Americans say they don't trust president trump to handle it responsibly. Well, I don't know where that poll came from. And I -- question it -- It is our abc/"washington post" poll. I see that. I wonder how a different poll would be. I can assure you. The president's number one priority is the safety of the American people and our allies. The president doesn't want to be in a nuclear war. We'll do everything we can to make sure that doesn't occur. On the other hand, the president will protect the American people and our allies. Having a country like the this having nuclear weapons. Testing it. Sending rockets over our allies, that is unacceptable behavior. Can we talk about your travel? ABC is reporting that you used a military jet following the press conference at trump tower. The plane cost $2500 an hour. Why couldn't you use a commuter jet? The inspector general is look at our travel. If there are suctions, we'll follow it. It doesn't cost $25,000 an hour. But it costs a lot of money. Number three, there are times I need secure communications to be in touch with the president and the national security council. That's the reason why. Can you remember anything specific from that day why you would have needed to be in touch with them on that airplane? Absolutely. I have specific. And the Pentagon gave us those figures. $25,000. You can check with the Pentagon. That's not what they charge. They charge a lot of money. I had a secure call that day that was critical and set up and needed to be done at that time. That's why I used the plane. Thank you very much secretary mnuchin. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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