The New York Times is reporting that President Donald Trump was not invited to throw a pitch for the New York Yankees, as the president had claimed during a White House press conference.
President Trump was reportedly angry that Dr. Anthony Fauci had been invited to throw the first pitch of the season last week.
During a press conference on Thursday, President Trump said that he would throw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game on August 15.
Over the weekend, however, President Trump abruptly canceled the appearance on Twitter, writing: "Because of my strong focus on the China Virus [coronavirus], including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the Yankees on August 15th. We will make it later in the season!"
Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the @Yankees on August 15th. We will make it later in the season!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2020
According to the Times, Yankees President Randy Levine had, in the past, extended an open invitation for Trump to throw out a first pitch. However, nothing had been finalized, and the announcement came as a surprise to both the Yankees and Trump’s staff.
A senior administration official told CNN that Trump's announcement caught his staff by surprise because there was no trip on the books.
Trump was reportedly annoyed by Dr. Fauci's invitation to throw the first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ season opener and instructed aides to schedule a first pitch of his own at an upcoming Yankees game.
Aides later told Trump he was already booked for August 15, prompting President Trump's cancellation tweet, according to the Times.
The Times added that the relationship between Fauci and Trump is tense, mostly because of the attention that Fauci receives from the media.
Earlier this month, Fauci was the target of attacks from several Trump officials.
Trump is the first president since Jimmy Carter not to have thrown a ceremonial Opening Day first pitch.
Dr. Fauci took part in the event last week, with a pretty lousy throw. Despite the bad toss, Fauci's limited edition Topps baseball trading card set a record-breaking print run for the franchise, selling 51,512 cards. The company's previous record was a card of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., which sold 19,396 copies.
Fauci did have a pretty good excuse for his throw, though. The 79-year-old said that he injured his arm practicing his throw for the first time in "decades."
“My arm was hanging down around my shoes,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
The country's top immunologist had also miscalculated just how far he'd have to throw the ball.
“He thought he’d practiced from 60 feet and 6 inches — until he got to the mound and realized he must have miscalculated. Fauci threw from about 50 feet. The ball made it 40 feet," the publication reported.
“When I saw (the catcher) was so far away, I said I better try to throw a bullet,” Fauci said. “And that was a mistake.”