Unlike former President Obama, President Trump has better things to do than fritter away time by filling out an NCAA tournament bracket on ESPN.
It’s not really a surprise; the network’s hard turn to the left in recent years hardly makes them a comfortable place for Trump to spend his time. The Washington Post reports ESPN asked Trump’s staff if Trump wanted to emulate Obama and appear on camera as he filled out the bracket, but they were rebuffed. An ESPN spokesman said in a statement: “We expressed our interest to the White House in continuing the presidential bracket. They have respectfully declined.”
White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks emailed the Post: “We look forward to working with ESPN on another opportunity in the near future.”
Every March of his presidency Obama filled out brackets for both the men’s and women’s tournaments. In what would seem to be a frivolous detour from seriousness, two of Obama’s brackets are now property of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Andy Katz, the ESPN basketball analyst who thought of asking Obama to participate, commented, “The bracket idea worked because President Obama follows basketball and is passionate about the sport. He wasn’t as dialed in to every player or team but had conversational knowledge to offer his own analysis on the NCAA tournament for the men’s and women’s game. Baracketology was a success because it was clear he was a fan of the sport and the NCAA tournament, like millions of other Americans.”
ESPN’s worship of Obama was clearly in evidence on January 16, as the network celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The network’s official release stated:
Obama’s love of basketball will be highlighted in a feature that includes his participation with ESPN’s Andy Katz in selecting brackets for the NCAA men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments during his presidency . . . ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, co-host of Pardon the Interruption, discusses the significance and legacy of Obama’s presidency. Michael Smith and Jemele Hill, who will become anchors of the 6 p.m. SportsCenter beginning February 6, will discuss their visits to the White House and the impact Obama has had on sports and culture while in office. Various prominent sports figures will contribute video tributes to Obama that will air during SportsCenter.
Only a few days after Sunday Countdown host Mike Ditka told a radio station that he thought Obama was “the worst president we’ve ever had” in March 2015, ESPN announced Ditka would be leaving Sunday Countdown. The network also left sports behind when it simulcast Obama’s ABC News-hosted town hall regarding shootings