By now, you know the situation. President Donald Trump will be in Atlanta on Monday to witness the national college football championship game between the universities of Georgia and Alabama:
He is set to attend the game with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Nick Ayers, a Georgia native who is Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff. First Lady Melania Trump is also expected to attend the game, which will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium under stepped-up security.
Democrats aren’t exactly rolling out the welcome mat. Former state Rep. Stacey Evans, who is running for governor, tweeted out a list of tips that led with this one: “Given how you been pickin’ em, I hope you’re a Bama guy.”
A host of other observations have trailed behind the news. Our advice: Stay off I-75 southbound, the most direct route between Dobbins Air Reserve Base and the stadium, after 5 p.m. Monday. The game starts at 8 p.m.
For the less logistically oriented:
-- Trump last visited Atlanta in April, when he addressed the National Rifle Association. But his Monday visit will come almost a year after he launched a Twitter attack on U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who refused to attend the president’s inauguration last year. Tweeted Trump:
Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart...
The stadium, of course, is in the heart of Lewis’ “horrible” Fifth District.
-- Former Hillary Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson pointed out that Monday is also when Trump said he would hand out his “most dishonest and corrupt media awards of the year.”
-- President Trump and football actually have much in common: Their approval ratings are darn close to identical. This morning’s note from the Gallup organization:
American football, under attack from critics in recent years, has lost some of its popularity but is still the champion of U.S. spectator sports -- picked by 37% of U.S. adults as their favorite sport to watch. The next-most-popular sports are basketball, favored by 11%, and baseball, favored by 9%.
Trump’s current accumulative approval rating, according to RealClearPolitics, stands at 40.5 percent – up from 37 percent last month.
-- Even so, there’s this Twitter worry from Kyle Wingfield, the AJC’s conservative columnist:
Is Trump going to root for one side or the other? If so, is it like Corso picking a game ... you *hope* he picks the other team?
But when handicapping Trump’s choice, note that Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban actually performed pretty poorly in last month’s Alabama Senate race.
Sure, Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore. The latter was Trump's second choice, after incumbent Luther Strange. Both lost. But in December, there were also 22,852 votes cast for write-in candidates – presumably out of disapproval for adults who have a thing for young teenage girls.
Saban received a disappointing 264 of those votes, according to one tally. And Trump, as we all know, hates a loser.
On the other hand, many forget that Vince Dooley, the front man for the Bulldogs when they last won a national championship in 1981, endorsed Trump in 2016.
As we recall, his description of Trump, then the presumptive Republican nominee, was something in the way of a coach talking about a freshman running back who was still having problems meeting curfew. And that may still apply.