Trump calls in to NBC golf event, pines for large crowds and no masks

Peter Weber
The Week

President Trump called in to NBC's Sunday afternoon broadcast of the first live golf event since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down major sports on March 12, and he expressed hope that live sporting events would return soon, with big crowds. The golf game, between Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, had no audience, and Trump said he wants the PGA to get "back to normal."

"We really want to see it back to normal so when we have all these thousands, tens of thousands of people going to your majors and going to golf tournaments, we want them to be having that same experience," Trump told NBC host Mike Tirico. "We don't want them having to wear masks and be doing what we've been doing for the last number of months. Because that's not getting back to normal. We want to be back to normal where you have the big crowds, and they're practically standing on top of each other and they're enjoying themselves, not where they're worried." In the meantime, he added, "they do the social distancing, and they practice that. And they've been doing really well. The country is ready to start moving forward."

McIlroy criticized Trump last week for politicizing the pandemic and said he will not golf with him again.

Golf isn't exactly known for huge crowds "standing on top of each other," but there is a lot of debate about when stadium events will be allowed to safely resume. The Wall Street Journal illustrated Sunday why that's super risky. "I think about the stadium the same way as I think about nursing homes, cruise ships, jails, and prisons," Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist, tells the Journal. "It's among the highest-risk areas."

As of early Monday, the U.S. COVID-19 death toll stood at 89,564 out of nearly 1.5 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University's count.

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