Political reactions to the athletes’ walkouts appeared to be largely divided along partisan lines.
On Wednesday, former President Barack Obama commended the N.B.A. and W.N.B.A. “for setting an example” and praised the Bucks “for standing up for what they believe in.”
“It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values,” he said on Twitter.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat from New York, said in a tweet that the N.B.A. players were “courageously on strike,” adding that the choice of words was important because a “strike,” as opposed to a “boycott,” referred to withholding labor and emphasized the players’ power as workers.
“The courage this takes is profound,” she added. “W.N.B.A. organizing in this moment MUST be recognized too.”
Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, said the N.B.A. players had “the luxury of taking a night off from work” when asked about the strike in an interview with Politico.
“Most Americans don’t have the financial luxury to do that,” he added, “I think it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue, but I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions.”
Asked in a Thursday interview on CNN whether Vice President Mike Pence would weigh in, Marc Short, his chief of staff said: “I don’t know that you’re going to see the administration weigh in on that one way or the other. In my mind, it’s absurd. It’s silly.”
As of Thursday afternoon, President Trump had not tweeted about the walkouts. In recent years, he has been a vocal critic of other protests against racism in professional sports, posting dozens of tweets criticizing National Football League players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.