The United States' coronavirus death toll exceeded 1,000 for five days straight last week, but who could possibly expect President Donald Trump to sacrifice a day of golfing because of a deadly pandemic? No one who’s been paying attention to the commander-in-chief’s priorities, which seem to align with bashing liberal state leaders, tweeting about his competitor in the 2020 election, and the heavy-hitter, getting re-elected.
Fittingly, Trump spent his Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. with NFL Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre. “Brett LOVES Wisconsin, Mississippi and Minnesota. A good golfer - hits it LONG!” the president tweeted Sunday of the former quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and New York Jets.
Brian Morgenstern, White House deputy press secretary, told WTMJ-TV Favre and Trump "discussed the importance of sports as a critical unifying and uplifting part of the safe reopening of America.” The NFL Players Association announced an agreement with players on Friday to move on with training camp, giving "high-risk candidates" an option to opt-out and instead receive a $350,000 stipend. The decision fails to follow the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall," Fauci told CNN in June.
The coronavirus death toll has only increased since June, when fewer than 120,000 people had died of the virus. The United States’ COVID-19 death toll was more than 146,000 Saturday, ABC News reported. In single-day, coronavirus death tallies, states reported 1,037 deaths Saturday, 1,178 deaths Friday, 1,039 Thursday, 1,126 Wednesday, and 1,029 deaths Tuesday, according to the volunteer-led COVID Tracking Project.
But just as he did in June, Trump has remained consistent in his push for a return to normalcy. That includes resuming professional sports. “Tony Fauci has nothing to do with NFL Football,” Trump tweeted on June 19. “They are planning a very safe and controlled opening.”
In the tweet, the president also threatened to stop watching NFL games if players didn’t stand for the National Anthem following NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s about-face on peaceful protests in light of George Floyd’s death. The unarmed Black man died in police custody May 25 after a Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. And in response to widespread protests in support of Floyd, Goodell conveniently claimed last month the league now supports players who want to "protest peacefully."
This is years after the NFL all but banned free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when he started taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racism, an act Favre spoke out in support of recently. He said Kaepernick’s sacrifice reminded him of that of Pat Tillman, a former NFL safety who quit professional sports to serve in the U.S. Army in 2002 and was killed two years later by friendly fire, NBC Sports reported. Favre tweeted June 22 that both Kaepernick and Tillman “sidelined their football dreams in pursuit of a cause.”
Trump, who earlier implied Kaepernick was a “son of a b---h,” instead lambasted the NFL for even appearing to support Black players calling for justice. These are the same players whom Trump seems to expect to risk their wellbeing to entertain the country during a deadly pandemic. He has so desperately and recklessly focused on reopening the country that more than 150 worried scientists, educators, medical experts, and other professionals got together to sign a letter asking leaders to halt reopening plans to contain the virus’ spread, CNN reported.
"Right now, we are on a path to lose more than 200,000 American lives by November 1st. Yet, in many states people can drink in bars, get a haircut, eat inside a restaurant, get a tattoo, get a massage, and do myriad other normal, pleasant, but non-essential activities," authors penned in the letter.
RELATED: 'Vaccine or no vaccine, we're back': Trump's call to ignore COVID-19 deaths not lost on his campaign