Trump Won’t Throw First Pitch At Yankees Game Because No One Asked Him To
Trump Won’t Throw First Pitch At Yankees Game Because No One Asked Him To. Read the #VanityFair #article
When he abruptly announced on Sunday that he would not be throwing out the first pitch at the Yankees game August 15, Donald Trump claimed that it was because he couldn’t break his “strong focus” on the coronavirus pandemic and a host of other issues he’s never before had a problem ignoring. But the real reason he won’t be taking the mound next month is far simpler: He hadn’t actually been asked.
According to the New York Times, the president surprised both the Yankees and his own staff when he said during a press conference that he’d be tossing the opening pitch on the 15th next month—a day he hadn’t been invited to do so, and which evidently conflicted with something already on his schedule. It’s not clear what that prior engagement is, but aides—shocked by his announcement—“scrambled to let the ballclub know that he already had plans for that Saturday. “We will make it later in the season!” Trump promised in his tweet canceling the outing.
Why would Trump impulsively announce he’d been asked to throw a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game he hadn’t actually been invited to, on a date when he already had something on his schedule? Because Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert whose clear-eyed assessments of the coronavirus crisis contradict the president’s wishful thinking, was about to throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home opener against the Yankees. Jealous of Fauci, and irritated that the public health expert is stealing the spotlight, Trump said an hour before the doctor’s first pitch Thursday that he, too, would be taking the rubber before a Yankees game. “Randy Levine is a great friend of mine from the Yankees,” the president said. “And he asked me to throw out the first pitch, and I think I’m doing that on August 15 at Yankee Stadium.”
Trump has done this kind of thing before, and for equally stupid, selfish reasons. The most recent example, perhaps, was his announcement in April that he’d be giving a commencement speech at West Point—surprising the school, and forcing cadets to return to campus in the middle of a pandemic to listen to him ramble. That outing didn’t go so well; his address was overshadowed by his slow, ginger walk down what he’d later claim, in one of his numerous ludicrous explanations for his careful gait, was a “very long & and steep…[and] very slippery” ramp. It’s possible he would have fared better on the mound; having a catch with former Yankees great Mariano Rivera outside the White House last week, his arm looked like it had some pop in it—enough, perhaps, to get the ball closer to the plate than Fauci, whose opening pitch was a bit low and outside. (“I completely miscalculated the distance from the mound,” Fauci told the Times Monday.)
Of course, Trump should have far greater concerns at the moment than baseball. He and his administration in recent days have tried to make a show that they’re taking the coronavirus crisis more seriously, leading to another round of cringeworthy media reports on the president’s new “tone.” In succumbing to his petty jealousies over the opening pitch, though, he reaffirmed that there is only one Trump, superficial as ever and incapable of change. He further drove that home Monday, as he went on another wild Twitter binge.
In the late-night spree, the president retweeted a post claiming that “Covid has a cure,” which was removed by Twitter for violating its misinformation rules. (COVID, of course, does not yet have a proven therapy or vaccine.) He also fired off retweets once again promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine, which still has not been shown to be effective at treating coronavirus, and accusing Fauci, who has been under attack from other administration officials, of “misleading” the public by dismissing the effectiveness of the potentially dangerous anti-malarial. “I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out because I think it’s very important,” Fauci responded Tuesday on Good Morning America. “I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances.”
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