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Biden mum on Masters after calling for All-Star boycott over Georgia voting law

President Biden on Tuesday punted when asked if the Masters golf tournament should pull out of Georgia to protest the state’s new voting law — less than a week after coming out in favor of Major League Baseball yanking its All-Star Game from Atlanta.

Addressing the issue following his announcement of expanded COVID vaccine eligibility by April 19, Biden was more neutral about the golf tourney, which kicks off Thursday in Augusta, than he was about baseball’s Midsummer Classic.

“I think that’s up to the Masters,” said Biden.

However, Biden went on to praise large corporate entities for taking a political stand — even as he acknowledged that it’s often everyday Americans who get hurt the most by such boycott decisions.

“It’s reassuring to see that for-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are,” he said, repeating his characterization of the Peach State law as modern-day Jim Crow.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of COVID-19 vaccinations on April 6, 2021.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of COVID-19 vaccinations on April 6, 2021.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

“There’s another side to it too,” he conceded. “When they in fact move out of Georgia, the people who need the help the most — people who are making hourly wages —sometimes get hurt the most. I think it’s a very tough decision for a corporation to make, or group to make, but I respect them when they make that judgment, and I support whatever judgment they make.”

Biden struck a more reserved tone less than a week after telling ESPN that he “would strongly support” the MLB moving its July All-Star Game out of Georgia to protest the new voting laws, joining other corporate protests by the likes of Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola.

MLB ultimately followed through, relocating the exhibition to Colorado — even though that state’s voting laws are more restrictive than Georgia’s, not less.

Among other things, the new Georgia regulations require identification for absentee voting and forbids people from giving would-be voters food and beverages as they wait to cast their ballots.

Brooks Koepka plays out from the bunker onto the 2nd green during a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia on April 6, 2021.
Brooks Koepka plays out from the bunker onto the 2nd green during a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia on April 6, 2021.
REUTERS/Brian Snyder

But they also allow counties to expand in-person voting hours later than an existing 5 p.m. cutoff on early voting days, add a mandatory new early-voting day and give counties the option of opening for voting on the two Sundays preceding an election.

Biden has also run afoul of fact-checkers who say that he has mischaracterized what the legislation does and does not do.

But Tuesday, he pinned the blame for companies’ difficult decisions on state governments for enacting new laws.

“The best way to deal with this is for Georgia and other states to smarten up,” said the commander-in-chief. “Stop it.”

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