President Donald Trump cracked a joke at his expense during a sports-related event today. At the White House Sports and Fitness Day, Trump questioned whether he had social skills, then bragged about his social media as he praised the importance of physical fitness and youth sports.
In his short speech, the president extolled the values of sports and competition, then veered slightly off topic:
Life's most valuable lessons are learned on the field competition. Young Americans will discover — that's what they do, they're learning all the time — the importance of team work, social skills. Do I have social skills? I don't know. I have social media, that's for sure. I don't know about skill but I have a lot of media.
Trump then said that young people participating in sports learned "the ability to overcome adversity" and made "lifelong friends all along the way." The president added, "The skills learned out on the track field, and the court, and the diamond, and the gridiron, and the golf course, and those tennis courts are skills that will serve young Americans for the rest of their lives."
The president's usage of social media has been a quasi-constant source of curiosity, concern, criticism, and sometimes simple incredulity. On frequent occasions, Trump has caused controversy by tweeting — and he tweets often — criticism of lawmakers, Islam, immigration, the press, and other topics. Displaying the combinational effect of disparaging remarks and his regular tweets, publications like New York Times and Forbes have even compiled lists of Trump's insulting tweets. So, he's right; he does have social media "for sure."
The president was joined by prominent athletes on the White House South Lawn, including Olympian medalist Shauna Rohbock, New York Yankees player Mariano Rivera, former NFL athlete Herschel Walker, and Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor. White House adviser Ivanka Trump was also at the event.
The president also touched upon today's youth and the myriad of choices they have when it comes to entertaining themselves. Of course, this includes video gaming, addictive games on their smart phones, and more. Trump said, "You know that sports teach young people the value of patience, and perseverance, hard work, and determination. You also know these experiences can’t be replicated on a cell phone or a game console; they really have to be learned and lived on the field of practice, with lots of sweat, lots of hard work, and lots of determination. And you’re winners all."
In spite of his public praise for physical fitness and activity, Trump seems to stick to only one sport: golf. Even on Wednesday, Trump was seen practicing a few golf swings while children observed him.
At the White House Sports and Fitness Day, the president said, "Participating in sports builds character, forges friendships, tears down barriers, and brings people from all walks of like closer together. I’ve loved sports all of my life. I always loved the people of sports, but I have loved sports all of my life."
Although he did not mention which study claims this, Trump said, "Sports also helps kids stay off the street and stay out of trouble. Students who participate in sports have up to 40 percent higher test scores. That one I’ve never heard. That’s pretty impressive."
It's unclear which study asserts that involvement in sports keeps youths from participating in risky behavior. That said, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry does report that children who take part in physical activity and fitness tend to be better at socializing, connecting with their peers, resolving issues with levelheaded fairness, and are more likely to have better self-esteem.
Given the significance of sports' impact on children's development, Trump said that he would ask the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, to develop a nationwide strategy that could boost youth sports involvement.
It's not known for sure when the program will start, but Trump seemed confident in Azar's capabilities. While turning to the secretary, the president grinned, "Can you handle it? Huh? He can handle a lot, this guy."