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Trump praises Curt Schilling as former pitcher considers congressional run in Arizona

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was seen in April at Fenway Park.
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was seen in April at Fenway Park.(Jim Davis /Globe Staff)

Curt Schilling, the former Red Sox star and conservative firebrand who says he’s mulling a run for office, got the backing of President Trump in a tweet Tuesday morning.

Trump tweeted his praise of Schilling after the ex-player told a radio show this week he was considering a run for Congress in Arizona.

“Curt Schilling, a great pitcher and patriot, is considering a run for Congress in Arizona. Terrific!” Trump tweeted, tagging the Fox News morning show “Fox and Friends,” something he often does while tweeting reaction to the show.

Schilling told “Armed American Radio” host Mark Walters in an interview that aired Sunday he was considering returning to Arizona to run for a seat in Congress.

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He did not specify from which district he would mount a run.

“One of the blue ones,” he told Walters in the interview.

Schilling has longstanding ties to Arizona. He attended high school and college there and played for the Arizona Diamondbacks for three-and-a-half seasons before being traded to the Red Sox in 2003, where he gained fame for his 2004 ALCS performance against the Yankees, pitching through a gruesome injury to win Game 6.

In the years following his retirement, he has at times been embroiled in controversy: His video game company, 38 Studios, folded, leaving taxpayers on the hook for a $75 million state loan guarantee.

Schilling’s also become an outspoken proponent of the far right, and drawn condemnation for spreading a conspiracy theory about the Parkland, Fla., shooting, praising a T-shirt celebrating the harm of journalists, and for a World War II collection that included Nazi memorabilia. He was fired from ESPN in 2016 for sharing an offensive Facebook post about transgender people.

Schilling has been frequently active in Republican politics, stretching back to his Red Sox days when he endorsed President Bush’s re-election bid. He campaigned for Senator John McCain in 2007 and for then-candidate Trump in New Hampshire in 2016. Schilling said in 2016 that he planned to mount a 2018 Senate campaign against Senator Elizabeth Warren, but he never appeared on the ballot.

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Former Rhode Island governor Lincoln D. Chafee, who often sparred with Schilling over 38 Studios, said he was not surprised by the Trump tweet.

When asked about Schilling’s potential run for Congress, Chafee cited a characterization that had been made about the World Series hero: “To me Curt Schilling is summed up perfectly . . . ‘On the day he pitched he was a horse, the other four days a horse’s ass.’’’

Chafee added that Trump and Schilling “have so many similarities.”

“But this is America,” he said, “and anyone can run for political office if they meet the basic requirements.”


Globe reporter Edward Fitzpatrick contributed to this report. Christina Prignano can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.