President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Pickaway Agricultural and Event Center on October 24th in Circleville, Ohio. Evan Vucci / AP
Soon after the state of Ohio beat Nebraska on Big Ten college football’s opening weekend, President Donald Trump paid tribute to the return of conference season.
“And it’s great to be back in Ohio to celebrate the return of Big Ten football with a big win for the Buckeyes,” said Trump on Saturday at a rally in Circleville, Ohio, just outside Columbus.
“So I had an idea, I said I’ll open it when it shuts down, that’s what happened,” Trump said. “And I worked hard to bring Big Ten back and I teamed up with your commissioner. He did a good job and we got it back. You won your football game today and were very happy about it.”
Trump repeatedly pressured the conference to play football in the fall, which it ultimately decided. However, it is unclear what influence the presidential pressure had on this decision, although he acknowledged it.
CNN’s Harry Ducks previously wrote that Trump obviously saw a political opportunity with concern for the Big Ten. There’s a reason he turned most of his attention to the Big Ten’s interruption of the game, unlike the many other conferences that did. Most of these other conferences are not based on swing states.
And Trump wasn’t alone. Biden also ran ads of empty college football stadiums due to the coronavirus, with the blame ending up at Trump’s feet.