78°F
weather icon Clear

Some Red Sox players, personnel decline Trump’s White House invite

Updated May 9, 2019 - 6:17 pm

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump welcomed the Boston Red Sox to the White House on the South Lawn Thursday — but the winners of the 2018 World Series didn’t quite return the welcome in big-league style.

About a third of the team members opted out of the event. Manager Alex Cora pointedly boycotted the celebration as a protest for what he sees as inadequate disaster relief for his native Puerto Rico, which still hasn’t recovered since Hurricane Maria slammed the U.S. territory in 2017.

“I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten, and my absence is no different. As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House,” Cora said in a statement to the New York Times.

Trump clearly was aware of the controversy. When reporters asked him about the Red Sox earlier in the day, Trump responded, “We have given Puerto Rico $91 billion for the hurricane. The people of Puerto Rico should really like President Trump.”

That is a claim Politifact consistently has rated as false. “Trump arrived at that figure by combining the $41 billion already allocated with additional FEMA costs expected to reach $50 billion. But that future payment is speculative, and it will be years before we know how much of it is realized,” the fact-checking organization explained.

Cora is hardly the first professional team player, or even team, to skip the limelight at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Celtics ace Larry Bird famously skipped an invitation to Ronald Reagan’s White House, saying, “If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me.”

When President Barack Obama was in charge, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas skipped a celebration of his team’s Stanley Cup victory in 2012 because, “I believe the federal government has grown out of control.”

Cora maintains that there is no tension between those who chose to stay home and those who attended the South Lawn ceremony, even though the division between those who attended and those who did not tended to fall along racial lines. Boston sportswriter Steve Buckley had tweeted that essentially the “white Sox” would be attending.

A standout exception was outfielder-designated hitter J.D. Martinez, who is of Cuban descent. Martinez thanked Trump for a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and awarded the president with a Red Sox jersey.

Afterward, Trump promised, he would show the players the Lincoln Bedroom.

When Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom to golf superstar Tiger Woods, Woods became an object of ridicule for Trump critics. Late night comic Jimmy Kimmel quipped, “Trump finally gets a black athlete to come to the White House” to accept an award.

The NFL agonizes over whether to accept White House invitations; “the NBA is a no-show,” noted Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen; college football is “the only thing Trump can count on” — and that’s because winning teams often hail from red states.

Trump has had to endure boycotts from before he was sworn into office. Close to 60 House Democrats announced they would skip Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.

In February, Nevada’s new Democratic Governor, Steve Sisolak, announced he would not attend any National Governors Association events at the White House in protest of a Department of Energy shipment of half a metric ton of plutonium to a federal nuclear storage facility north of Las Vegas.

After Trump equated white supremacists in Charlottesville to those who protested against them in August 2017, horrified CEOs abandoned Trump’s business advisory panels. It was such a stampede, Trump was forced to disband them.

“Rather than putting pressure on businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council and Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” the president tweeted.

In March, however, Trump held an event with his American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, on which Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty serve. In 2017, Cook and Rometty publicly distanced themselves from Trump’s rhetoric.

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Accused murder mastermind Frank LaPena is granted a pardon - VIDEO
A onetime Las Vegas casino bell captain who spent 25 years in prison as the accused mastermind in a notorious 1974 contract murder won his last legal battle for freedom Wednesday when the state Pardons Board granted him a conditional pardon restoring all his civil rights. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Middle: Nonpartisan voters and the 2020 election
How will the growing segment of nonpartisan or independent voters — those who have not registered with either political party, or who have left partisan politics behind — vote in 2020?
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - VIDEO
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - VIDEO
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
NY Rep. Peter King retiring, giving Dems a new target

The decision comes days after voters flocked to Democratic candidates in state elections in Kentucky and Virginia, underscoring Republican vulnerability in a suburban revolt against President Donald Trump.

Justices take up high-profile case over young immigrants

Trump has said he favors legislation on DACA, but that it will take a Supreme Court ruling for the administration to spur Congress to act.