Trump postpones throwing first pitch at Yankees game
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Curveball

Trump postpones throwing first pitch at Yankees game

Announcement comes after backlash to invite, including from NYC mayor who tweeted to team: ‘After CONDEMNING racism, the next step isn’t inviting it to your pitcher’s mound’

US President Donald Trump plays catch with former New York Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera as he greets youth baseball players on the South Lawn of the White House to mark Opening Day for Major League Baseball, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Donald Trump plays catch with former New York Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera as he greets youth baseball players on the South Lawn of the White House to mark Opening Day for Major League Baseball, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump threw a curveball Sunday when he announced he would no longer throw out the opening pitch at a New York Yankees game next month.

“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,” Trump tweeted, using a term for the novel coronavirus widely decried as racist and fanning conspiracy theories.

“We will make it later in the season!” he added.

Trump had said Thursday during his coronavirus press briefing that Yankees president Randy Levine had asked him to throw out the first pitch at the team’s home game against the Boston Red Sox.

The announcement came an hour before Major League Baseball’s pandemic-delayed season got underway, with top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci throwing out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reacts after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before an opening day baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees at Nationals Park, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The reigning World Series champions said Monday that they had invited Fauci, a major fan who can often be seen sporting a Nationals-branded mask, to throw the pitch — an honor normally reserved for the US president.

Fauci has become increasingly popular during the pandemic, widely recognized as the nation’s foremost voice on public health and facing the challenges associated with the coronavirus crisis.

But Trump, who is reportedly irritated by Fauci’s popularity and profile, has recently scaled back the scientist’s TV appearances.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks alongside his wife Chirlane McCray during a memorial service for George Floyd at Cadman Plaza Park in New York, June 4, 2020. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Fauci has also been attacked by Trump’s team in recent weeks, and was not even invited to some of the recent coronavirus briefings.

Trump’s invitation to the Yankees game had drawn backlash from several New York City officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who tweeted Saturday at the team, “After CONDEMNING racism, the next step isn’t inviting it to your pitcher’s mound.”

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