August 10, 2022

Trump gives strange intimate hug to player at White House World Series celebration

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One of the undeniable perks of winning a major sports championship in the United States used to be the obligatory invite to the White House for a post-win celebration.


That all changed during the Trump era, as the president’s divisive attacks on football players who dared to protest police brutality against minorities by taking a knee during the national anthem made political polarization a regular feature of both professional and college sports.

Trump’s downgrading of the welcome provided to those teams who decided not to simply boycott the White House because of Trump’s policies and showed up expecting the lavish spread that previous presidents had provided to find only a bounty of the finest fast-food that Oval Office interns could retrieve helped make a presidential invite to a victory celebration seem even less attractive than the president’s presence already had made it.

Nonetheless, World Series Champions the Washington Nationals ventured to the South Lawn of the White House today to celebrate becoming the first team from the nation’s capital to win a baseball championship since the days of Calvin Coolidge.

Well, some of them did, anyway.

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Also deciding to skip the ceremony were Wilmer Difo, Roenis Elías, Raudy Read, and Tres Barrera. Pitcher Sean Doolittle had already declined the invitation in advance, saying:

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“There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘shithole countries,’ ” Doolittle told The Washington Post.

“At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it,” he continued. “I just can’t do it.”

As the remaining Nationals team members emerged to the sound of a marching band playing their theme song, “Baby Shark,” Trump played to the enthusiastic crowd that had come to see the new champions.

“I have to say this is a record,” Trump began. “We’ve never had this many people on the front lawn of the White House. Just another record for the Nats.”

As much as the focus of the event was on the Washington DC hometown heroes, Trump couldn’t help but throw in a reference to his impeachment woes as he praised the team.

“America fell in love with Nats baseball. They just fell in love with Nats baseball. That’s all they wanted to talk about. That and impeachment,” the president said. “I like Nats baseball much more.”

It was when Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki donned a red MAGA hat before approaching the podium to speak that a rambunctious Trump expressed his appreciation with a move that outdid any touchy-feely moves that former Vice President Joe Biden has become infamous for. Trump embraced the catcher in a way that had people thinking that he was momentarily thinking he was back canoodling with adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Former Minnesota Senator Al Franken was forced to resign from Congress after a similar move towards Leeann Tweeden that didn’t even involve actual physical contact.

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Eventually, the team presented the president with a Nationals uniform jersey emblazoned with “45” and exited the ceremony to the strains of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”

Trump’s bizarre groping notwithstanding, the nearly dozen players who boycotted the ceremony hadn’t missed anything that they would make them regret skipping the White House visit and avoided justifying the president’s divisive politics by endorsing them through their presence.

Hopefully, Kurt Suzuki will recover from the trauma of Trump’s unwanted physical contact in time to return to top playing form in time for next season.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Cindy Boren at The Washington Post.

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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