President Joe Biden refused to call for the Masters Tournament to leave Georgia after pushing for Major League Baseball to boycott the state.
Biden backed off his pro-boycott messaging after he and other Democrats were pinned with the blame for the MLB deciding to move its 2021 All-Star game and rookie draft out of Atlanta. Biden had encouraged the decision days before it was made over election reforms Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law last month.
“I think that’s up to the Masters,” Biden said when asked if the professional golf tournament should boycott Georgia like the MLB.
“It is reassuring to see that for-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are,” he added.
He went on to note that businesses and events leaving Georgia carries an economic cost. When businesses leave Georgia, “the people who need the help the most, the people who are making hourly wages sometimes get hurt the most.”
“I think it’s a very tough decision for a corporation to make, or group to make, but I respect them when I make that judgment and I support whatever judgment they make,” Biden said. “The best way to deal with this is for Georgia and other states to smarten up. Stop it.”
President Biden is asked if he supports moving the Masters out of Georgia:
"That's up to the Masters… It is reassuring to see for profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are." pic.twitter.com/mB8tDRnwFe
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 6, 2021
Last week, the president endorsed the idea of the MLB moving its All-Star game out of Atlanta, saying he would “strongly support” such a move because of the Georgia election reforms. On Friday, two days after Biden’s public endorsement of the Georgia boycott, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the league’s decision to follow through on the president’s wishes.
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” Manfred said. “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”
After the move was announced, backlash built in Georgia and nationally against the MLB and Democrats who pushed the move while spreading misinformation about Georgia’s election reforms. Democratic activist Stacey Abrams, who lost the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race, discouraged other companies from following the MLB’s lead, saying that boycotts are not “necessary — yet.”
Holly Quinlan, president and CEO of Cobb Travel and Tourism, said Georgia’s tourism industry will take at least a $100 million hit in lost business due to the MLB moving its events.
“This event would have directly impacted our county and the state, as visitors spend their dollars on local accommodations, transportation, entertainment and recreation, food and retail throughout the county,” Cobb County Travel and Tourism said. “This would have been a big boost to Cobb businesses and help with recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This article has been revised for clarity.