Calvin Johnson did not hold back his feelings on how President Donald Trump has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. The former Detroit Lions receiver joined Michigan State Rep. Joe Tate in a video roundtable event on Thursday to discuss Trump's coronavirus response and how it will lead to an economic fallout due to the Big Ten Conference postponing football. Johnson said leadership in Michigan took the pandemic seriously, but the same can't be displayed on a federal level.
"That's numerous tax dollars that can't be re-appropriated to the citizens of the other states," Johnson, when talking about potential lost revenue via USA Today. "Not only that, the leadership in Michigan here, but Gov. Gretchen (Whitmer) also took it seriously here, locking things down, saving a lot of lives from day one." Johnson then said: "What if we had a leader by example that wears his mask, that preaches social distancing and believes in the science? So long story short [...] it's leadership that failed at the federal level in leadership and the lack of empathy there about what's going across this state and the nation."
As for Tate, who is a former Michigan State football player, he said Trump has failed because he hasn't listened to science. "Instead of leading by example, Donald Trump has denied science, ignored experts and lied for the sake of his own re-election," Tate said. "Instead of helping our governor and lieutenant governor tackle our public-health crisis, Trump has attacked our state leaders, muffled the opinions of experts and undermined social-distance safety measures."
Tate also said Trump's lack of leadership has hurt local businesses that rely on money brought in by college football games. He mentioned a 2015 study showed Michigan football games generated $82 million in spending. He also said that Michigan State's athletic director Bill Beekman projected the school could lose as much as $85 million in revenue without football in 2020.
Trump is not happy with the Big Ten Conference postponing football. "The young children handle it (COVID-19) very well. I want to open the schools. I hope the Big Ten is going to do it," Trump said back in August. "I'll tell you what we've got to play football. They put out false rumors, saying, 'I wonder if people are angry that Trump closed football.' I'm the one that's fighting for it to open. A lot of it is opened."