The baseball club announced the team’s new name Friday, explaining that it was a nod to the statues along the Hope Memorial Bridge.
Here is Trump’s statement in full:
“Can anybody believe that the Cleveland Indians, a storied and cherished baseball franchise since taking the name in 1915, are changing their name to the Guardians? Such a disgrace, and I guarantee that the people who are most angry about it are the many Indians of our Country. Wouldn’t it be an honor to have a team named the Cleveland Indians, and wouldn’t it be disrespectful to rip that name and logo off of those jerseys? The people of Cleveland cannot be thrilled and I, as a FORMER baseball fan, cannot believe things such as this are happening. A small group of people, with absolutely crazy ideas and policies, is forcing these changes to destroy our culture and heritage. At some point, the people will not take it anymore!”
On the other hand, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reportedly said Friday that the White House “certainly supports” the new name, as reported by Reuters reporter Jeff Mason.
Fans have mixed reactions about it. Some have even said they would’ve preferred that the team be renamed the Spiders, a throwback to the club’s name from the 1890s.
The team’s colors will remain the same, and the new Guardians’ new logos will incorporate some of the architectural features of the bridge.
In 2018, the Indians stopped wearing the contentious Chief Wahoo logo on their jerseys and caps. However, the team continues to sell merchandise bearing the smiling, red-faced caricature that was protested for decades by Native American groups.
Numerous Native American groups have protested Cleveland’s use of the Wahoo logo and Indians name for years, so the latest development brought some comfort.
“It is a major step towards righting the wrongs committed against Native peoples, and is one step towards justice,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director and founder of IllumiNative, a group dedicated to fighting misrepresentations of Native Americans.
But Guardians does seem to fit the team’s objective to find a name that embodies Cleveland’s hard-working, loyal, Midwestern-valued ethos while preserving the team’s history and uniting the community.
The Associated Press contributed to this report