President Trump Celebrates The Return Of Sports: ‘An Essential Part’ Of America

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President Donald Trump celebrated the return of sports Thursday as the MLB gets set to play their first regular season games since the coronavirus pandemic brought the sporting world to a halt.

“President Trump believes that sports are an essential part of the cultural fabric of our great country, especially baseball,” the White House said in a statement Thursday. “As an avid sports fan, the president is optimistic that Americans will come together to once again enjoy America’s national pastime under our beautiful flag.”

“During the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, the President and his Administration have hosted dozens of calls with sports leagues to update and brief them on efforts to appropriately respond to this global pandemic,” the statement continued. “Sports are a key aspect of America’s economy, and we must find ways to bring sporting events back, while still protecting the health and safety of players, staff, and fans.”

The MLB is set to start a 60-game, pandemic-shortened season in Washington, D.C. Thursday night when the defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees. The NBA is also set to resume their season on July 30 in Orlando, Florida. (RELATED: NBA Has 0 Positive Coronavirus Cases In The Bubble At Disney In Orlando)

The president has been adamant about sports returning in 2020, and rebuked Dr. Anthony Fauci last month, after the White House coronavirus task force adviser suggested that the NFL may not happen.

“Tony Fauci has nothing to do with NFL Football,” Trump tweeted at the time. “They are planning a very safe and controlled opening. However, if they don’t stand for our National Anthem and our Great American Flag, I won’t be watching!!!”

Fauci is slated to throw out the first pitch before Thursday night’s Nationals-Yankees game.