Mariano Rivera, the Hall of Fame New York Yankees reliever, is not backing off his support for President Donald Trump after an editorial in the Daily Beast accused him of having “served at the pleasure of a racist president.”
“He was a friend of mine before he became president,” Rivera said in an appearance on Fox & Friends. “So because he’s president, I will turn my back on him? No. I respect him. I respect what he does, and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”
Trump tweeted his congratulations on Rivera’s unanimous election to the Hall of Fame in January and his support for helping fight the opioid epidemic in January raising some eyebrows.
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 
The Daily Beast piece, written by Robert Silverman, also said that Rivera had “taken part in thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of a far-right government in Israel, and gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons.”
“When it comes to Israel, as a Christian, if my Savior Jesus Christ, he’s a Jew, okay? So how am I going to turn my back and say, ‘Oh, I won’t support Israel ?” Rivera said in response.
Rivera is a native of Panama and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015 retired from baseball after 19 seasons in 2013 and is co-chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, and has served on the Opioid Drug Abuse Commission.