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With his enshrinement came criticism of his personal beliefs, with the Daily Beast criticizing him for his “far-right” politics ahead of his induction citing his alignment with “openly extremist and Islamophobic Pastor John Hagee” and serving “at the pleasure of a racist” President Donald Trump.
Rivera’s relationship with Trump
Trump, in kind, has voiced his public support for Rivera.
Congratulations to Mariano Rivera on unanimously being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame! Not only a great player but a great person. I am thankful for Mariano’s support of the Opioid Drug Abuse Commission and @FitnessGov. #EnterSandman #HOF2019💯 pic.twitter.com/reU1gKWHSQ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2019
Rivera cites existing friendship with Trump
On Wednesday, Rivera responded to the Daily Beast piece, defending his support of Trump on the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends.”
Rivera talked about his devout Christianity that was strengthened by his belief that prayer saved his unborn son who was expected to die after his pregnant wife contracted chicken pox before answering questions about his support of Trump.
He told the “Fox & Friends” panel that he was friends with Trump before he became president and continues to maintain that friendship.
"Mr. President Trump — he was a friend of mine before he became president," Rivera said. "So, because he's president I will turn my back on him? No.”
‘He’s doing the best’ for America
Rivera also said that he believes that Trump’s presidency is good for the United States.
“I respect him,” Rivera said. “I respect what he does. I believe that he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”
Rivera directly addressed the criticism from The Daily Beast over his relationships with certain pro-Israel groups.
“My savior Jesus Christ — he’s a Jew,” Rivera said. “How am I gonna turn my back and say I won’t support Israel?”
Appearing on a network that openly aligns itself with Trump and his policies, Rivera did not face any critical questioning of his viewpoints.
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