Biden Says Texas Ballclub Making Mistake With Full Capacity Plan
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden called it “a mistake” for the Texas Rangers baseball team to allow full attendance at games as the season kicks off while the country continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They should listen to Dr. Fauci and the experts,” Biden said during an ESPN interview broadcast on Wednesday night, referring to Anthony Fauci, his health adviser and top infectious disease expert. “It is not responsible,” the president added about the move by the team to reopen games to full capacity as many Americans are still waiting to be vaccinated.
The Rangers press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment after regular business hours. The team does require masks at home games in Globe Life Stadium in Arlington, Texas. “The chance to be together again for a home game is thrilling and welcome. But it may also come with a feeling of uncertainty. We understand,” the team says on its website.
During the roughly 11-minute interview, Biden touched on the pay gap between men and women athletes, the new voting-rights legislation passed in Georgia last week, the debate over moving Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game out of Georgia because of that legislation, and first lady Jill Biden’s love of Philadelphia baseball.
When asked what he thought of players calling for the game to be moved in protest over the voting law, Biden indicated his support and that the athletes were acting responsibly. The game is to be played on July 12 at Truist Park near Atlanta.
Democrats and activists say the Georgia voting overhaul, and others taking shape around the country, is intended to make it harder for minorities to cast ballots. Republicans insist that it’s necessary to prevent voter fraud, of which experts say there’s scant evidence.
“This is Jim Crow on steroids, what they are doing in Georgia,” Biden said.
His objections to the lifting of crowd restrictions came as top U.S. public health officials escalated their warnings about a new surge in coronavirus cases.
Earlier Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky again urged Americans to wear masks and avoid crowds and travel as the average number of new cases over the past seven days is up nearly 12% from the previous week.
On Monday, Walensky warned of “impending doom” and a possible fourth Covid wave as cases and hospitalizations rise again in the U.S., despite increasing vaccination levels.
The Biden interview, broadcast hours after he presented his $2.25 trillion U.S. infrastructure plan in a speech in Pittsburgh, ended on a light note, with the president joking about his wife’s die hard love of another Major League Baseball club, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The president said when Phillies games are on, “you don’t talk to her.”
“Philadelphia fans are incredibly knowledgeable fans, but boy are they are tough,” he added. “They are tough, tough fans.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.