Trump Says Return of Sports Essential for Country’s ‘Psyche’

Donald Trump said that the return of professional sports was essential for the “psyche of our country” as it rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic.

The president promised robust virus testing for athletes and spectators as he called into the broadcast of a charity golf event on Sunday.

“The athletes will be tested very carefully,” Trump said during the skins game, which saw PGA professionals Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, and Matthew Wolff tee off, and maintain social distance, to benefit front-line health care workers. “And the people who want to go will be tested very carefully.”

Trump said he’s been in regular contact with sports commissioners, but signaled some impatience with early plans that would see games resume with few or no in-person spectators — as will be the case with the PGA Tour resumes in June.

The president has openly bristled in recent days as public health officials on his coronavirus task force have warned that too opening the country back too quickly could result in case spikes.

“We want big stadiums loaded with people,” Trump said. “We don’t want 15,000 people watching Alabama-LSU.”

24,996 in U.S.Most new cases today

-17% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​09 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-4.​8% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), April


Masks Not Normal

The president said ideally golf tournament crowds would be “standing on top of each other” as they did before the pandemic outbreak, which has killed around 90,000 Americans.

“We don’t want them having to wear masks and be doing what we’ve been doing for the last few months, because that’s not back to normal,” Trump said.

Trump didn’t directly address criticism leveled by McIlroy -- the world’s top ranked golfer -- who last week said during a podcast interview that he was disappointed with the handling of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. and that he wouldn’t again play golf with the president.

“We’re in the midst of something that’s pretty serious right now and the fact that he’s trying to politicize it and make it a campaign rally and say we’re administering the most tests in world like it is a contest -- there’s something that just is terrible,” McIlroy said on the McKellar Golf podcast.

NBC announcer Mike Tirico noted McIlroy’s comments and asked Trump if politics ever came up while he was playing with professionals.

“A lot of them are very political actually,” Trump said. “Some like my politics very much and probably some don’t.”

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