Less than a week after winning the franchise’s first World Series, the Washington Nationals are headed to the White House on Monday after accepting an invitation from President Trump.
But the team will be without one of its star players: reliever Sean Doolittle, who’s set to become the latest pro athlete to snub the President by refusing an invitation to the White House. Doolittle’s move comes after Trump was booed while attending Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 27.
“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,” Doolittle, who is actively involved in refugee and LGBTQ issues, told The Washington Post.
“I feel like there are a lot of issues, a lot of things that have been said, a lot of things that have been said by the President, a lot of things that have been done by the administration that I can’t, no matter what, I can’t reconcile with what I believe in, what I feel very strongly about,” Doolittle told the Post. “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.”
“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 went on. “I just can’t do it.”
Doolittle isn’t the first championship-winning athlete to skip the traditional presidential visit. In January, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors celebrated their 2018 NBA title by meeting with former President Barack Obama rather than with a visit to the White House. And back in 2012, Stanley Cup-winning NHL goaltender Tim Thomas skipped the Boston Bruins’ visit with Obama, sharing his belief that the “federal government has grown out of control.”
The Nationals, sans Doolittle, are scheduled to meet President Trump at 1.15 p.m. on Monday on the South Lawn of the White House.