Mariano Rivera defends his support of Donald Trump

Mariano Rivera spent 19 seasons in the Major Leagues, all with the New York Yankees, and became the all-time leader in saves (652). (AP file)

Mariano Rivera, the first player to be unanimously voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, is defending himself from criticism for his support of President Donald Trump.

“He was a friend of mine before he became president,” Rivera, who is Panamanian, said in an appearance on ‘Fox & Friends,’ according to USA Today. “I respect him, I respect what he does and I believe he’s doing the best for the United States of America.”

Rivera was the target of an opinion column on the website The Daily Beast that describes his alleged “far-right” politics. 

Rivera, a 13-time All-Star, is co-chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition and has also served on the Opioid Drug Abuse Commission.