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Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended President Donald Trump’s harsh criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, saying “the president has free speech rights too.”

Sessions’ comments came during a question and answer session at a free speech program at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington.

Referring to the NFL player protests, Sessions said: “(The president) sends soldiers out every day to defend this country under the flag of the United States, under the national anthem and the unity those symbols call on us to adhere to, so I agree it is a big mistake to protest in that fashion because it weakens the commitment we have to this nation that has provided us this freedom. I would note, of course, that the players aren’t subject to any prosecution. But if they take a provocative act they can expect to be condemned. And the president has the right to condemn them.”

And Sessions added: “There are many ways these players, with all the assets they have, can express their political views other than, in effect, denigrating the symbols of our nation, a nation that’s provided our freedom to speak and act.”

Meanwhile, Sessions maintained freedom of thought and speech are under attack on college campuses. He announced the Justice Department will intervene on behalf of people who sue colleges claiming their free speech rights were violated, the Associated Press reported.

Conservatives complain protesters have been shutting down speakers at various college campuses.

Sessions said universities are “becoming an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought,” according to AP.

“Starting today, the Department of Justice will do its part in this struggle,” he said. “We will enforce federal law, defend free speech, and protect students’ free expression from whatever end of the political spectrum it may come.”