Trump hails Olympics postponement, says he’ll be there next year
President Trump on Wednesday commended Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for postponing the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo due to the coronavirus and said he looked forward to being at the event in 2021.
“Congratulations to Prime Minister Abe of Japan, and the IOC [International Olympic Committee], on their very wise decision to present the Olympics in 2021,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “It will be a great success, and I look forward to being there!”
Japan and the IOC agreed to postpone the upcoming summer games as a result of the global pandemic, announcing Tuesday that they would be postponed until next year. Abe said that the games would be held by summer 2021.
Trump and Abe also spoke by phone on Tuesday about the development and both countries’ efforts to address the coronavirus, the White House said.
“President Trump updated Prime Minister Abe on the All-of-America approach by the United States to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement Wednesday.
“President Trump praised Japan’s efforts to combat the pandemic and expressed his strong support for the decision to delay the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. The two leaders agreed on the need for continued international cooperation to share expertise, restore the strength of the global economy, and assist vulnerable nations in combatting the pandemic,” Deere added.
There had been growing calls for the Olympics, which attract an international audience and athletes from around the world, to be canceled or postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has spread to more than 150 countries worldwide.
Canada and Australia announced over the weekend that they would not send their athletes to the summer games. Trump said earlier this week the United States would be guided by Abe’s decision.
A number of large gatherings in the U.S. and elsewhere have been canceled or postponed as officials look to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Japan took drastic steps to control the spread of the virus, including shuttering schools nationwide at the end of February. The Trump administration has urged Americans to avoid restaurants, bars and nonessential travel and to limit in-person gatherings to 10 people or fewer over at least the next week to reduce the spread of the virus.
A number of state officials in the U.S. have also ordered nonessential businesses to close. Trump has signaled this week that he’d like to begin opening up areas of the country with the hope of having life return to normal by Easter as he seeks to revive the U.S. economy, prompting criticism from health experts who have cautioned against opening things up too quickly or setting an arbitrary deadline.
Trump insisted Tuesday that “every decision we make is grounded solely in the health, safety and wellbeing of our citizens.”
Updated at 12:50 p.m.