Washington Nationals star says he won’t visit White House

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Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle declined to visit the White House on Monday to celebrate his team’s World Series win, citing President Trump’s rhetoric and behavior.

Doolittle’s remarks: “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,” he told The Washington Post on Friday. “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,” Doolittle told the Post. “I just can’t do it.”

“People say you should go because it’s about respecting the office of the president. And I think over the course of his time in office, he’s done a lot of things that maybe don’t respect the office,” he added.

He pointed to the president’s “issues on race relations,” and mentioned the Fair Housing Act, the Central Park Five and his remarks following the 2017 Unite the Rally.

Doolittle said he wanted to “show support for” his wife’s mothers who are part of the LGBTQ community. “I think that’s an important part of allyship, and I don’t want to turn my back on them. I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can’t get past that stuff.”

The president was welcomed with boos from the audience when he made an appearance at the Washington Nationals’ Game 5 of the World Series. The team’s owner previously said that he “should be at” the game. “Well, he has every right to come. He’s the president of the United States, whether you like him or not. It’s a special event,” said Mark Lerner.

Worth noting: Throughout Trump’s presidency, there have been a number of players who have opted out of a White House visit because of their opposition to the president. Some sports stars, such as football player Megan Rapinoe, have even taken a step further in openly criticizing him and his policies.

(Photo credit: Minda Haas Kuhlmann)