Republicans accused of using 17-year-old footage to pretend Trump threw ceremonial first pitch while president

Mr Trump did deliver a first pitch – but it was in 2004, at a minor league game in New Jersey

<p>Donald Trump throws the ceremonial first pitch for the Somerset Patriots, a New Jersey minor league baseball team, in 2004</p>

Donald Trump throws the ceremonial first pitch for the Somerset Patriots, a New Jersey minor league baseball team, in 2004

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee has tweeted a video reel of GOP presidents tossing out first pitches at baseball games, starting with former president Trump. 

There’s just one problem: Mr Trump never threw a first pitch as president.

Observers on Twitter quickly pointed out that the Trump clip was almost two decades old.

“The @NRSC is using 17-year-old footage of Trump here because he never threw out a first pitch as president,” tweeted Max Steele, communications director of the Democratic think tank American Bridge.

The clip appears to be from 2004, when Donald Trump performed the ceremonial throw at a minor league stadium in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Mr Trump, then a reality TV star and private businessman, landed in TD Bank Ballpark aboard his helicopter and threw a snappy pitch for the Somerset Patriots, bouncing the ball just before home plate.

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In the NRSC video, that clip is followed by presidents Ronald Reagan, George W Bush, and George HW Bush, throwing Opening Day pitches during their respective times in office. No caption or narration indicates that one of these clips is different – although Mr Trump looks suspiciously youthful in his segment.

In fact, Mr Trump was the first president since William Howard Taft not to throw a ceremonial first pitch during his presidency. President Jimmy Carter was the one other asterisk – though he didn’t throw a pitch on Opening Day, he did deliver one six games later.

The ceremonial throw was a major source of awkwardness for Mr Trump in 2020, when Dr Anthony Fauci threw the first pitch for the Washington Nationals at an Opening Day delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Trump bristled at the fact that Dr Fauci was invited instead of him, and quickly announced that the New York Yankees had asked him to throw a first pitch in August. That was news to the Yankees.

The former president then backtracked, tweeting that he was too busy with his duties as commander in chief to attend the game, although he had just spent the weekend golfing.

“Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the @Yankees on August 15th,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, which had not yet banned him at the time. “We will make it later in the season!”

He never did.

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