US President Trump Says LA 2024 Olympic Games Would “Be Terrific”

U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump

U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump

For the first time since his surprise election victory in November, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke publicly about Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and how his immigration policy might impact the campaign to return the Games to the city for the third time.

Speaking to Westwood One Sports Radio Sunday just ahead of the kickoff to start the Super Bowl, Trump spoke about his full backing of the bid, and said he wasn’t sure what role his new executive action might play as the bid moves forward.

“I’ve been asked to support it and I’ve actually spoken to the Olympic Committee in Europe, and they are, I think were very happy when they spoke to me, they wanted to have an endorsement from me and I gave it to them very loud and clear,” The President said.

“I would love to see the Olympic go to Los Angeles, I think it would be terrific.

“The United States Committee members have asked me to speak up about it and I have and I think I helped them and let’s see what happens.

“But I would be very happy and honored if they would choose Los Angeles and we’d stand behind it.

In August, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said that some International Olympic Committee (IOC) members had voiced concerns over a Trump presidency.  Garcetti, a democrat and a political opponent of Trump’s later said that politics would have nothing to do with the bid.  He helped arrange the call between the U.S President and IOC President Thomas Bach in November.

Westwood One Radio host Jim Gray then turned the conversation to Trump’s controversial travel ban affecting seven muslim-majority nations that, as of Monday evening, is be vetted by the court system.

Gray asked “do you feel your immigration policy and the recent executive order might hurt the bid and cost LA some IOC votes?”

Trump responded “Well I don’t know.”

“But we have to, regardless, we have to have security in our country. We have to know who is coming in to our country,  We have people that are coming in with good intentions.”

“If people are coming in with bad intentions I want to be able to find out before they get here.  You see what’s happened in other countries, you see what’s happened in our country – take a look at so many events including the World Trade Center.

“So if people want to come into our country they have to come with good intentions, then we want strong borders and we want to have extreme vetting, and we want to know what we’re doing, frankly.”

Trump also commented on the ban of Russian Olympic athletes from the Rio 2016 Games after the discovery that they were involved in a widespread doping conspiracy and cover-up at the Sochi 2014 Games.  He was asked by Gray whether the ban should be extended to future Games, and if he would say that to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Well I think that is really going to be up to the various Olympic committees,” Trump said, “they’ve taken a very strong stand and it’s going to be up to them much more so than me.  So we’ll see what they have to say.”

He didn’t comment on Putin.

Los Angeles is competing against Budapest and Paris to host the Games, the IOC will elect a winner September 13 in Lima, Peru.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.