By KIARA BRANTLEY-JONES, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Sunday that he will not be throwing out the first pitch at the New York Yankees game on Aug. 15.
The postponement comes two days after the president said during a coronavirus briefing that he had agreed to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium after being asked by Yankees president Randy Levine.
“I’ve agreed, Randy Levine’s a great friend of mine from the Yankees, he asked me to throw out the first pitch,” Trump said from the podium on Thursday. “I think Major League Baseball is setting an example by playing at empty stadiums, and so are other sports.”
On Sunday the president cited multiple reasons for the change in plan, including scheduling conflicts due to his “strong focus” on the coronavirus pandemic and the economy.
“We will make it later in the season!” the president tweeted.
Trump received major backlash from New York City politicians when he initially announced he would be throwing out the first pitch. The loud criticism came amid protests against racial injustice across the U.S.
“After CONDEMNING racism, the next step isn’t inviting it to your pitcher’s mound,” New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio tweeted on Saturday regarding the Yankees’ invitation to Trump. “To the players that knelt for the BLM movement, we applaud you. To the execs that have aligned with hatred, you are on the wrong side of history and morality.”
“I am shocked and outraged by the New York Yankees’ decision to invite President Donald Trump to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on August 15,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in a statement on Friday. “We all deserve better than a careless major league baseball organization that consistently ignores the surrounding community while pandering to an unapologetic white supremacist like Donald Trump.”
The president’s announcement to postpone the opening pitch was preceded Sunday by several other tweets criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden, Fox News, and protesters in Portland.
Trump tweeted that there was “NO WAY” a place like Pennsylvania can vote for Joe Biden. He also wrote that Fox News “has really checked out,” and argued that the media is not showing what is “REALLY going on” in Portland and other cities.
“They want the American public to believe that these are just some wonderful protesters, not radical left ANARCHISTS,” he tweeted.
The president did not say specifically when his opening pitch would be rescheduled.
The Aug. 15 Yankees game would have marked Trump’s first participation in the tradition of U.S. presidents throwing out the first pitch at Major League Baseball games. The presidential tradition dates back to William Howard Taft in 1910.
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