Trump Derangement Syndrome and college football collided head-on in Tuscaloosa, Alabama this weekend over the president's attendance at the LSU-Alabama game. University of Alabama students claimed the "racist" president's visit put the student body at risk, while Newsweek compared Trump with Richard Nixon as presidents facing impeachment who both attended high-profile college football games.
Newsweek sports writer Scott McDonald said Trump's attendance at the game in Tuscaloosa draws comparisons to Nixon, who in 1969 attended the game between the top two teams in the nation, Texas and Arkansas.
"Famed journalist Carl Bernstein, who helped uncover the Watergate Scandal with Nixon, compared Nixon's tapes to Trump's conversations with Ukraine officials in a 'cover up,'" McDonald writes. He quotes Bernstein saying:
"They are somewhat equivalent because what we've seen in one summary suggests this conspiracy, suggests this high time perhaps by the president of the United States. And Nixon was ordered to turn over his tapes because of those kinds of suggestions, so there's some real comparisons of evidence that is being withheld now that the Watergate investigators were able to obtain."
McDonald predicts impeachment inquiries against Trump by the U.S. House of Representatives may go farther in this process than with Nixon because he resigned the presidency.
David Jackson, of USA Today, wrote about how presidents, like Trump and Nixon among others, use sports for political gain. As unbeaten Alabama and LSU prepared to take the field, "Trump won't be the first president to attend a big-time college football contest," Jackson says. Fifty years ago, President Nixon traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to watch No. 1-ranked Texas play No. 2 Arkansas in a battle of unbeatens.
President Trump (seen with First Lady Melania on jumbo video screen at the game) received a "warmer welcome in red state Alabama," than he did at recent World Series and UFC events, Jackson reported. "The crowd mostly cheered when he and first lady Melania Trump appeared on in-stadium television screens, though there were also some boos mixed in."
Jackson cites "many analysts" who say Trump has been "a little more political with his forays into sports, from attacking football players who knelt at national anthems to promoting his appearance at the LSU game to Bayou State voters."
Alabama.com's Ben Flanagan reported that members of the Student Civil Justice Coalition at the University of Alabama staged a sit-in at the school library Friday to protest President Trump's visit. Protest organizing student Tori Jones said the visit would put “all of our student body at risk” and that Trump “brings with him a culture of systemic racism.”
Protesting students brought signs saying “Love Trumps Hate,” “No Jobs on a Dead Planet,” “Resist,” “Impeach," “Trump is Racist,” “Hate Not Welcome” and “I Hate Trump More than Auburn." “It went pretty well,” Jones said, via text message. “There were maybe three people who yelled out ‘Trump 2020,’ but most of the people were there taking pictures of us or giving us vocal support.”
Abbey Crain, also a reporter for Alabama.com, explained how Lee Bains III, lead singer for the Glory Fires, led a Saturday demonstration in protest of Trump and co-wrote an anti-Trump petition stating, in short:
“We dare defend our rights against Donald Trump: a president who has used his position to violate the human rights of our fellow Alabamians because of their race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, or religion... ."
CNN posted an online report by Fernando Alfonso III, and Jeanne Moos filed a television report about the Baby Trump blimp making an appearance outside the Alabama football stadium.
Deadline's Bruce Haring writes, "The balloon depicts a bright orange Trump donning a diaper secured by safety pins. It was seen during Trump’s trip to the United Kingdom this summer, and has since become an anti-Trump activist staple."
Jackson's USA Today story also quoted Michael Butterworth, director of the Center for Sports Communication and Media at the University of Texas, saying, "It's an illusion to say sports and politics are separate, though the mix seems more toxic in the Trump era."
One of the most prominent supporters in attendance Saturday at what was billed as the "game of the century," was LSU's Heisman Trophy hopeful, quarterback Joe Burrow, who said: "The president at the game is pretty cool."