Media: Pete Rose Endorsed Donald Trump! Pete Rose: Wanna Bet?

On Monday, there were tens of headlines announcing the endorsement of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump by former future baseball Hall of Famer Pete Rose. According to Rose’s lawyer, however, the Charlie Hustle endorsement is more of a gnarly hustle by Trump.

The “endorsement” in question came in the form of a tweet thanking Rose for an apparent autographed baseball bearing the inscription “Mr. Trump Please Make America Great Again”:

Somewhat mysteriously, however, Rose’s lawyer tells The Washington Post that they have no idea how Trump came to possess the ball in question:

But now, it turns out that what some thought was an endorsement wasn’t — according to Ray Genco, an attorney for Rose — and that Trump’s ball didn’t come from Pete Rose at all. Genco made this absolutely clear in a telephone conversation with The Washington Post late Monday.

“We do not know how Mr. Trump got the ball,” Genco said. “I can’t authenticate the ball from some Twitter picture.” He added: “I can’t speak to how Trump got the ball. Pete didn’t send it. I made that clear.”

Genco’s verbal clarification followed a statement he sent to The Post and other outlets Monday.

“Pete has made a point not to ‘endorse’ any particular presidential candidate,” Genco wrote. “Though he respects everyone who works hard for our country — any outlet that misinterpreted a signed baseball for an endorsement was wrong. Pete did not send any candidate a baseball or a note of endorsement. That said, through my discussions with Pete about this cycle, I’ve learned that he believes that who to vote for is a decision each voter should decide for him or herself. Pete knows and has impressed upon me that, above politics, it’s leadership and teamwork [that] make all the difference. Both the left and right are Baseball fans — and it is those institutions and their people that make America exceptional.”

The Trump campaign rhetorically asked The Post if Trump had ever claimed that the ball constituted an endorsement, which he did not, but no one has yet been able to explain the actual ball. Rose’s camp isn’t calling it a fake, and the Trump campaign isn’t saying how they got it.

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