Skip to comments.Bush stands by beleaguered friend Palmeiro in steroids scandal
Posted on 08/03/2005 9:18:41 PM PDT by presidio9
US President George W. Bush has defended his longtime friend Rafael Palmeiro -- the professional ballplayer suspended this week for using performance-enhancing drugs -- saying he is convinced by Palmeiro's assertions that he never intentionally used steroids.
"Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him," Bush said in an interview published Tuesday in several Texas newspapers.
"He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn't use steroids, and I believe him. Still do," the US president said.
Bush's friendship with Palmeiro dates back to the early 1990's when he was a managing partner for the Texas Rangers and Palmeiro a player with the team.
Palmeiro, 40, is one of several professional athletes who in March of this year testified under oath before a US congressional committee that he had never taken steroids.
But the Cuba-born first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles is the seventh player and first major baseball star to receive a steroid ban under a new policy agreed upon by owners and the players' union earlier this year -- one that was harshly criticized by the US Congress as being too lax.
In a statement released Monday after the suspension was announced, Palmeiro changed his claim to say he never "intentionally" has taken steroids.
Palmeiro received a ten-day suspension after failing the steroids test. Barely two weeks ago he was hailed a hero in his sport for becoming one of only four players to have 3,000 career hits and 500 homeruns.
Lawmakers in Congress expressed dismay at the news of Palmeiro's failed drug test, and suggested it may lead to serious legal repercussions for the baseball star, who could face perjury charges if a probe reveals that he lied to Congress.
Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings (news, bio, voting record), who sits on the House Government Reform Committee that Palmeiro testified before, told US television Tuesday that it seemed likely that several of his congressional colleagues would demand that Palmeiro be called to account for his positive drug test.
"I can tell you, there will be probably be some people on the committee that will press hard for it," he told CNN television.
"Here we were, we had the poster player of the league, one of our major players, to come before us, look us in the eye, shake his finger at us and say, 'I have never used steroids.' And then come to find out that he did," Cummings said.
He conceded, however, that proving Palmeiro perjured himself "would be very difficult" because of the amount of time that has passed since the March congressional hearing.
"Even if he did use steroids recently, that at the time of the hearing and before that, he didn't. So I think that's going to be hard," Cummings said.
But in the court of public opinion, Cummings said, Palmeiro already has taken a major hit.
"Every time he gets up to bat ... he has to wonder what his fellow players are thinking of him, what the fans are thinking of him, what those little children that have Palmeiro written on the backs of their baseball shirts are thinking of him. I think he's going to suffer enough," said Cummings.
Always liked Rafael Palmeiro, but after testing positive for anabolic steriods his recent career records are in question. Palmeiro is no better then Barry Bonds.
makes no sense, why would the President associate himself with a cheater?
I love Bush but there are times that he should keep his mouth shut.This is one of them.
Talk about Palmeiro calling in a favor!
Yes, what is the worth of doing this? Stupid to comment on this.
Actually, I kind of admire the prez for doing this. It takes conviction to stand up for a friend when everyone on the planet it pointing a finger at them. He could have easily abandoned him to the sharks but W isn't the kind of man to cast off someone when the whole world is against them.
Totally agree. It's one thing for Bush to stand behind Rove in the Plamegate investigation, but I don't see how Bush can say he believes Palmiero after he tested positive and Canseco outed him in his book, claiming he shot Palmiero in the butt himself.
Ditto. Palmiero was a friend before W was President. If he burns he burns, but that does not excuse a friend who abandons him.
Thanks, I would rather have a president who instinctively stands up for a friend than one who has to take a poll to decide what he believes. It was very Trumanesque of him to do that.
Well, both President Bush and his father (and even Billy Graham) have decided to associate themselves with Bill Clinton a lot lately, so I guess Plastic Palmeiro is no different. They're all rich. They're all famous. They're all part of the same country club.
Or maybe it takes arrogance. Or stubbornness. Or an unwillingness to admit you have a friend who is a cheater, a liar and a steroid user.
He could have easily abandoned him to the sharks but W isn't the kind of man to cast off someone when the whole world is against them.
Has Bush invited Kenny-boy Lay to any barbecues lately?
If Bush really is a friend, he ought to call up Plastic Palmeiro and tell him to shape up. And while he's at it, the President should tell his "friend" to stop doing those creepy Viagra ads that show up during baseball coverage, causing 7-year-old kids to ask awkward questions of their dads when the dad is just trying to enjoy a ballgame with his child.
Just how many pills does Palmeiro pop on an average day anyway? He has 3,000 hits, but how many pills?
It's pretty sad when someone like Jose Canseco appears to have more credibility than the President of the United States.
Mr. President, can I interest you in buying a bridge in Brooklyn?
Bush doesn't have to abandon him, but he also doesn't have to kiss his ass by saying he believes Palmeiro's denial even in the wake of a positive drug test that held up under appeal and is causing Palmeiro to be suspended for 10 days. If Bush is really Palmeiro's friend, he's doing more harm than good right now. Palmeiro needs to come clean. Palmeiro needs to start being himself instead of trying to turn himself into someone he's not. He could be in serious trouble if he lied to Congress.
A true friend should not just nod along with Palmeiro like a bobbing-head doll. A true friend should level with him about the self-destructive path he's on and the troubling long-term health consequences of steroids.
You have to admire the Pres. for sticking by a friend. But I am betting that Palmeiro will not be invited to the ranch, the White House, a party dinner or function that puts him withing 100 feet of the Pres. anytime in the future.
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