Trump may give football fans some face time at New Orleans college championship
'Awesome that he's going to be there,' Clemson athletic director says
President Trump may be among the tens of thousands of fans gathering in New Orleans later this month for the College Football Playoff championship game between LSU and Clemson.
Neither the president nor the White House have confirmed the plans for Jan. 13, but Trump called LSU coach Ed Orgeron on Monday to congratulate him on his 63-28 Peach Bowl win against Oklahoma and reportedly expressed interest in attending the playoff game, according to The Advocate, a local news site.
"I was very honored to get a call from President Trump," Orgeron said in a Tuesday teleconference, according to The Advocate. "He was very pleasant to talk to. Very complimentary of our football team, our coaching staff. Complimentary of the way the state of Louisiana has rallied around us. Was complimentary of the way we played all year and wished us good luck in the game."
Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich confirmed Trump's plans to attend the game to Yahoo Sports on Friday.
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"It’s awesome that he’s going to be there," Radakovich said. "It shows the magnitude of college football that the president would take time out of his schedule to make an appearance at the biggest game of the year in college football."
The reported plans for the president to attend were made, however, before tensions escalated with Iran after Trump ordered the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani, which may affect his visit.
The president's interest in the championship contest is in keeping with his attendance at a number of football games in the past. Trump attended the Alabama-LSU game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in November, and he was at the LSU-Georgia College Football Playoff game in 2018.
Trump has also shown up for a number of Army-Navy football games, and owned a pro football team, the Jersey Generals, in the 1980s. The franchise was part of the short-lived U.S. Football League.
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Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne told Yahoo that Trump's presence was "well-received" with the Alabama crowd during the November game.