Trump suggests Summer Olympics could be postponed due to coronavirus

Trump suggests Summer Olympics could be postponed due to coronavirus
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE on Thursday suggested Japan should consider postponing the 2020 Summer Olympics for a year due to the coronavirus rather than conduct the quadrennial competition without spectators.

"I just can't see having no people there. In other words, not allowing people. Maybe, and this is just my idea, maybe they postpone it for a year," Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with the prime minister of Ireland.

"Maybe that's not possible," he added. "But I would say maybe they postpone it for a year. It's a shame because ... they built some really beautiful buildings."

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The fate of large gatherings like the Summer Olympics are up in the air as the coronavirus continues to spread around the world. The NBA and Major League Soccer have suspended their seasons, and multiple major conference basketball tournaments have been canceled due to the virus.

Trump has in the past deferred to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on whether the Olympics, scheduled to take place in Tokyo starting in late July, should be postponed.

"He's a friend of mine. He's built a beautiful venue," Trump told reporters last week. "It's a very sad thing if that would happen, because the venue is incredible. They've spent billions of dollars. But I'll leave that up to Japan. That's up to them."

The International Olympic Committee has indicated the summer games will take place as planned from July 24 through Aug. 9.

Public health officials have cautioned against attending large gatherings, particularly for those who are elderly or have underlying conditions that would make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Trump on Thursday called the suspension of the NBA season "pretty incredible," but acknowledged the risk of having fans sitting in such close proximity to one another. 

"It’s pretty amazing when you think of what happened and how fast this spread to the world," he said, calling the coronavirus "a very fast spreader."