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Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence on June 13. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters at a Saturday press conference that Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence called him about the upcoming college football season.

What they're saying: “...I want college football to come back. These are strong, healthy, incredible people. These are people that want to play football very badly," Trump said Saturday evening. "A great, great talented quarterback Trevor Lawrence called me two days ago; I spoke to him a couple times."

  • "He said, 'Sir, I want to just tell you we want it back, we want to play.' He's an incredible quarterback from an incredible school, Clemson. And he's going to have a very good future in the NFL."
  • "He made the statement that he feels he's safer on the field than he is outside of the field."

A Clemson football spokesman told Axios that according to Lawrence, the White House reached out and provided him a number to call.

Driving the news: Lawrence is among several high-profile players who voiced their desire to play the fall season, Axios' Kendall Baker writes.

  • "Football is a safe haven for so many people," Lawrence tweeted last Sunday. "We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football."
  • Following Lawrence's tweets, a dozen players from all five major NCAA conferences released a joint statement, expressing their desire to play the 2020 season, while laying out their plans to form a players' association in the future.

The big picture: The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced this week they've voted to postpone their 2020 fall sports seasons, including football, due to risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, hoping instead to play next spring.

  • Trump has repeatedly pushed for college football to return this fall.
  • The president's effort to resume football is "elevating the emotionally charged cultural debate as part of his push to reopen the country amid the coronavirus pandemic," the Washington Post writes.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to return to campaign trail after 2nd negative test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Monday that she "looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail" after testing negative for COVID-19 for a second time, following earlier conflicting results.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.

Operation Warp Speed leader: COVID vaccine push is "isolated from a political environment"

Moncef Slaoui in the Rose Garden on Nov. 13. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Moncef Slaoui, the White House's top scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the Trump administration's efforts to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine is "isolated from a political environment" and that a change in administration "doesn't, frankly, make a difference" on its efficacy.

Why it matters: Slaoui told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that he has not yet had contact with Joe Biden's transition team, as the president-elect prepares to inherit one of the country's biggest crises ahead of an expected vaccine distribution effort that would require massive logistical cooperation between states and the federal government.

Updated Nov 23, 2020 - World

Oxford University says its coronavirus vaccine is up to 90% effective

A scientist working during at the Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, in June. Photo: Steve Parsons/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The University of Oxford announced Monday that a COVID-19 vaccine it's developed with AstraZeneca is 70.4% effective in preventing people from developing symptoms, per interim data from Phase 3 trials.

Why it matters: The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is shown to work in different age groups and can be stored at fridge temperature. It is much cheaper than other vaccines in development and is part of the global COVAX initiative, designed to ensure doses go where they're most needed.