More than half of Americans tell polling organizations they disapprove of the job the president is doing, but even in that majority, there are factions. There are the conservative-leaning voters upset that President Donald Trump has not "drained the swamp" in Washington. There are the liberal-leaning voters appalled by his foreign-policy mishaps.
And then there are folks like John Angelos. The Orioles executive vice president and president and chief operating officer of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, a self-identifying supporter of neither the Democratic nor Republican Party, talked Trump on the B-More Opinionated podcast this week, except not really. As he expressed his disappointment in the president's conduct and his hope in the new wave of activism spreading across the country, Angelos referred to Trump only as "the candidate" or "the president," never by name. It wasn't quite Russell Westbrook before the NBA All-Star Game, but it felt like it.
So as Opening Day in Baltimore approaches, do not expect to see Trump — reportedly once scouted by the Philadelphia Phillies as a pro prospect — on the mound at Camden Yards for a ceremonial first pitch.
"Ultimately, that decision is with the ownership group as to, you know, what major politicians and political figures and societal figures they want to invite to be part of something," Angelos told hosts Jason La Canfora and Jerry Coleman. (His remarks start at about the 1:03:30 mark of the episode.) "I know that the administration has taken a lot of criticism for its controversial positions, and I think more so, perhaps, for his statements made both during the campaign and since the administration came in concerning things that are considered to be problematic from a race, ethnicity, religious, gender, disability community. People in those communities have been spoken about very negatively by a candidate, now president.
"[If] you're asking my personal opinion, I think it's really incumbent upon any individual [who] leads the country to step away from those types of statements, to apologize for those statements and retract them and then turn the page and then to move forward in embracing their community, all parts of that community. Until that happens, it wouldn't be my preference to have the president come throw a pitch. But that's up to the ownership as to what they would like to do there."
Angelos' list of grievances was long. He commented on Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents' heightened crackdown on undocumented immigrants — "sending of essentially shock troops through neighborhoods to chase people around, which is outrageous on every level," as Angelos put it.
He lamented Trump's penchant for offending minority or marginalized groups and not regretting one word: "You don't say those things about women. You don't say those things about different ethnic groups, different national origins, people who are disabled, all that. And if you do say them, you're a big enough person to withdraw them and apologize."
And he said it was a shame that he even had to comment on such matters, because he wants the president, Trump or otherwise, to succeed: "I do not say anything here because I want to give sustenance to the Democratic Party or I want to tear down the Republican Party or this candidate or this president. Everybody wants to see whoever's in the office of the president do extremely well."
This is not virgin territory for Angelos, or his father, for that matter. After the Freddie Gray riots in 2015, John Angelos posted a series of tweets in which he advocated for nonviolence and due process and railed on the "needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans."
Managing partner Peter Angelos has long been a Democratic Party benefactor, donating over $1 million ahead of the 2012 elections and over $270,000 to the super PAC formed to encourage then-Vice President Joe Biden to seek the presidency last year.
If John Angelos' rejection of the "Stick to sports" cliche wasn't already apparent, consider the context in the podcast: The conversation about Trump began after Angelos had discussed his hopes for improved attendance and ticket sales, and it concluded with his joking about joining La Canfora and his family at their regular protests of Trump and Congress.
"The other thing that needs to happen here is more corporate CEOs and people that want to be community leaders to act like Misty Copeland did," he said, referring to the internationally known ballerina and Under Armour spokeswoman's comments about the importance of inclusion and diversity. "They need to stand up and not normalize and not legitimize and not whitewash that kind of conduct. I wouldn't accept that from a Democratic, a Republican or somebody from outer space."
(H/T The Washington Post)