Shortly after the New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs to reach their ninth Super Bowl since 2002, President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to the team and the architects of that epic run, including Patriots owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady. That was not a surprising message, particularly given the support those three have shown for Trump in the past, but the president quickly followed it up with a more out-of-the-blue message related to Boston sports.
“Curt Schilling deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Trump tweeted Sunday evening. “Great record, especially when under pressure and when it mattered most. Do what everyone in Baseball knows is right!”
That got an immediate and grateful response from Schilling, who tweeted, “Thank you Mr. President! Do NOT give in on any of it! We are behind you!”
Trump had provided a major clue as to why he was tweeting about Schilling by adding the Twitter handle of a show featuring Mark Levin, who also hosts a Fox News program. Sure enough, Schilling had just made an appearance on the TV show, in which he discussed why thought he had not been voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and how he felt that conservatives in sports were generally treated.
A former star pitcher on World Series-winning teams with the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, Schilling has subsequently gained notice for his outspoken views on social and political issues. He maintains a very active presence on social media and was fired by ESPN as a baseball analyst in April 2016 for “unacceptable” conduct after sharing memes that compared extremism in the modern Muslim world to Nazi Germany in 1940 and that disparaged transgender people while weighing in on so-called “bathroom laws.”
Schilling also has been a sharp critic of Hillary Clinton, saying in 2016 that she “should be buried under a jail somewhere” for using a private email server while secretary of state, and he has been a major supporter of Trump. Referring to Clinton as “one of the most evil, despicable corrupt lying phonies ever to walk this earth,” he endorsed Trump’s presidential candidacy in May 2016, saying in a blog post, “I trust that at every crucial point, when a decision has to be made, he will make the decision that’s best for our nation, and not the best for votes.”
On Levin’s show, Schilling said, “Trump’s gonna win in 2020,” saying there was “no feasible way” he would not, “unless the Russians and Democrats get together again and try to rig another election.” Schilling added that when Trump’s re-election occurs, “the left will be “apoplectic, more so than they are now.”
When asked whether his exclusion from the Hall of Fame thus far was “political,” given his “tremendous record” in the sport, Schilling replied, “Part of it is. I mean, it’s not a guess, the people that have not voted for me specifically because of the things I’ve said or did, they’ve said it.”