President Trump is hopeful that players will stand during the national anthem when he takes the pitcher’s mound next month at Yankee Stadium.
The president revealed during a White House coronavirus briefing on Thursday that he spoke to Yankees President Randy Levine about throwing out the first pitch Aug. 15 when the Yankees take on the Red Sox.
“Randy Levine’s a great friend of mine from the Yankees” he said. “He asked me to throw out the first pitch. And I think I’m doing that on August 15 at Yankee Stadium.”
Later Thursday, during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump again said he would be taking part in the longstanding tradition but noted that he hoped that players would stand during the national anthem.
“It’s great that baseball is back, and other sports are back. I hope everyone’s standing; I hope they’re not going to be kneeling when the flag is raised. I don’t like to see that,” he said. “That would hurt a lot of people in our country. They don’t want to see that with the NFL, or baseball, or basketball, or anything else.”
He continued: “There are plenty of places you can protest. You don’t have to protest on the raising of our flag.”
The president’s comments came shortly after every player and coach on the Washington Nationals and Yankees took a knee and held a black ribbon before the national anthem. They stood when the “Star-Spangled Banner” was played.
Trump said earlier in the week after several MLB players knelt during the national anthem before exhibition games that he would not be tuning in to live sports if players protested the flag.
“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!” he said in a tweet.
The reaction to Trump’s first pitch will be interesting. A former high school baseball player, Trump should have an easier time than Dr. Anthony Fauci, who botched the first pitch ahead of Thursday’s game.
A big Nationals fan, Fauci was asked to take part in the ceremonial pitch, which landed just outside the strike zone.