Trump cancels 1st pitch throw for Yankees, says he's focused on 'China Virus' but meets MAGA fans without masks
President Donald Trump has reportedly canceled his plan to throw the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on August 15. The Republican has claimed that he is too busy focusing on the current coronavirus crisis in the country. Trump made the announcement in a tweet on Sunday, July 26, stating: "Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the @Yankees on August 15th." Despite the widespread backlash, the president continues to use his offensive nickname for Covid-19.
Trump, despite the cancelation, vowed to make an appearance at the baseball field, saying: "We will make it later in the season!" The Republican, whose handling of the coronavirus crisis in the country has received criticism, spent his Sunday greeting nearly 50 supporters who had gathered near his golf club in New Jersey, all of them were notably without masks. The novel coronavirus has now infected over 4.1 million people in the country and has claimed more than 146,000 lives. Trump's minute-long campaign stop to greet supporters was the first time he left his Trump National Golf Club Bedminster all weekend, according to reports.
Trump had been praised last week for accepting the Yankee's invitation to throw the ceremonial first pitch after refusing to do so for the past three years. The honor to throw the ceremonial first pitch is generally given to US presidents. Before Trump's turn, every president since William Howard Taft in 1910 has thrown their own first pitch. Trump is the first president since then to skip the tradition.
It was reported last week that Trump planned to throw out the first pitch at a Yankees match next month despite the New York baseball players kneeling on Opening Day game in Washington DC. The report came days after the president had tweeted, saying if he witnessed a played kneeling it would be "game over" for him.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, during a press briefing, on July 25, had said that Trump was "excited" to participate in the tradition. "I'll leave it to him as to address the Yankees game, he's very excited to throw out the first pitch," McEnany said.
Washington Nationals and New York Yankees' players knelt during the Opening Day ceremonies this week, however, stood for the National Anthem. The players had kneeled to protest police brutality in the country and to take a stance against systemic racism. The opening day ceremony on Thursday night featured multiple references to the ongoing anti-racism protests triggered by the killing George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
President Trump, however, is against the kneeling while the American flag is presented or the Star-Spangled Banner being played. The Republica, previously, has stated that he would not support sports if players continued to take a knee in protest. Trump, in a tweet on July 21, had written: "Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!"
The news comes shortly after the nation's top immunologist and White House Coronavirus Task Force member, Dr. Anthony Fauci, threw out the first pitch this week, upstaging Trump's intentions to do the same in August. Dr. Fauci, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the first game of Major League Baseball's regular season, which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The Washington Nationals, on Monday, July 20, had announced that Dr. Fauci accepted the team's invitation of the pregame honor on Thursday night, July 23.
The baseball team, in a statement, wrote: "Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title." Dr. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a self-described fan of Washington Nationals, the reigning World Series champions.
It was reported during the 2019 World Series, that Trump might take to the pitcher's mound, however, the Republican leader shirked the suggestion, saying he would be required to wear "a lot of heavy armor." Trump, at the time, had reportedly said: "I'll look too heavy. I don't like that."