Rivera was responding to a Daily Beast opinion piece in which author Robert Silverman wrote that he has “taken part in thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of a far-right government in Israel, and gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons.”
Rivera chuckled as that excerpt was quoted to him. As he did during his acceptance speech, he cited his Christianity as the basis of his support. “When it comes to Israel, as a Christian, if my Savior Jesus Christ, he’s a Jew, okay? So how am I going to turn my back and say, ‘Oh, I won’t support Israel,’ ” Rivera said.
Baseball’s all-time saves leader is a native of Panama and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015. Rivera retired from baseball after 19 seasons in 2013 and is co-chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition. Rivera, who turns 50 in November, also has served on the Opioid Drug Abuse Commission.
Other Latin ballplayers differ about Trump. David Ortiz, the former Boston Red Sox star who is from the Dominican Republic, spoke out about Trump’s immigration policies in May when members of the team considered whether to visit Trump in the White House after winning the World Series last year.
“I’m an immigrant. When it comes down to the political side of it, I don’t know much about politics and things like that, but when it comes down [to] the way immigrants have been treated, it’s something that goes a long way,” Ortiz, who became a U.S. citizen in 2008, told radio station WEEI. “You don’t want to go and shake hands with a guy who is treating immigrants like [expletive] because I’m an immigrant.”
At least nine members of the team declined to go to the White House that month.
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