Donald Trump says Cleveland Indians name change is ‘such a disgrace’ and ‘disrespectful’ to Native Americans

Trump baseball
President Donald Trump throws a baseball on the South Lawn of the White House on July 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump critized the Cleveland Indians baseball club for changing their name.
  • The name change comes amid a wider cultural shift of institutions ditching racist names and logos.
  • Trump said he was a “FORMER” baseball fan and criticized “changes to destroy our culture and heritage.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Donald Trump has criticized the Cleveland Indians’ decision to change their name to the Cleveland Guardians, calling it a “disgrace.”

On Friday Trump released a statement saying, “Can anybody believe that the Cleveland Indians, a storied and cherished baseball franchise since taking the name in 1915, are changing their name to the Guardians? Such a disgrace.”

Trump said that the move was “disrespectful” to Native Americans. “I guarantee that the people who are most angry about it are the many Indians of our Country,” he said.

The Major League Baseball club announced the name change on Friday through a video narrated by Tom Hanks.

“There’s always been Cleveland. That’s the best part of our name,” Tom Hanks said in the video.

“And now it’s time to unite as one family, one community to build the next era for this team in this city, to keep watch, and guard what makes this game the greatest. To come together and welcome all who want to join us.”

Club owner Paul Dolan said that the killing of George Floyd, and the protests that followed, prompted him to change the name, according to AP.

Read more: 
The definitive oral history of how Trump took over the GOP, as told to us by Cruz, Rubio, and 20 more insiders

The decision comes amid a wider cultural shift of institutions in the US ditching names and logos that are considered racist.

Cleveland’s name change comes two years after it removed a racist caricature of a Native American character “Chief Wahoo” from player’s uniforms.

In his statement, Donald Trump said he was a “FORMER” baseball fan, and criticized people who made “changes to destroy our culture and heritage.”

Several Native American activists and politicians welcomed the Cleveland club changing its name, including Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet secretary.

“The long practice of using Native American mascots and imagery in sports teams has been harmful to Indigenous communities. This is a welcome and necessary change,” Haaland said.