President Trump was interviewed by the controversial founder of Barstool Sports on Thursday, granting an audience to a media company that has come under fire for allegations of racism and sexism as Trump looks to reset his struggling presidential campaign.
Mallory Blount, the White House’s director of specialty media, said in a tweet that Swampscott native Dave Portnoy met with Trump at the White House to “discuss the role that sports plays in the #GreatAmericanComeback” on Thursday. The MLB kicked off its shortened season on Thursday evening.
The interview with Barstool Sports, a media company Portnoy founded in Boston in 2003, was among several Trump has done in recent days following the release of several polls that show him trailing former vice president Joe Biden by double digits.
During the interview, Trump reiterated his opposition to NFL players and others who kneel in protest of police brutality during the national anthem, and suggested players should find other, “friendly ways” of making their voice heard.
Trump also discussed his Twitter habit, acknowledging he sometimes regrets things he tweets, and said he often doesn’t scrutinize tweets before retweeting them.
“It’s not the tweets, it’s the retweets that get you in trouble,” he said.
Portnoy, who built Barstool into a successful company that draws millions to its site and social media channels, has been a subject of controversy for years for making racist and sexist remarks. In Barstool video segments, Portnoy has used the n-word and made racist statements about Colin Kaepernick. Portnoy has also made several misogynistic remarks, including calling ESPN’s Sam Ponder a sexist slur in 2014, according to the Daily Beast, and his website has a section featuring women in lingerie or bathing suits called “Smokeshow of the Day.”
Portnoy moved the company to New York City in 2016 after selling a majority stake to a media investment firm in 2016. In January, Penn National Gaming Inc. bought a 36 percent stake in Barstool Sports in a deal valuing the company at $450 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.