Trump wins political support from key Nats players in White House fete
Send a link to a friend
[November 05, 2019]
By Alexandra Alper
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Popular players on
the Washington Nationals baseball team praised Donald Trump at Monday's
White House celebration of their World Series championship, days after
the polarizing U.S. president drew boos from fans and criticism from a
pitcher on the underdog team.
Trump congratulated the Nationals on their first ever World Series title
against the Houston Astros last week, drawing cheers from thousands of
red-clad Nationals fans at the White House South Portico, and winning
plaudits from players who took turns at the microphone.
Ryan Zimmerman, the Washington franchise's first-ever draft pick in
2005, went beyond the gratitude that other players expressed, voicing
support for the Republican president.
"We'd also like to thank you for keeping everyone here safe in our
country and continuing to make America the greatest country to live in
the world," he said, handing Trump a Nationals jersey emblazoned with
the number 45.
The 45th president, Trump wrapped the Nationals' Kurt Suzuki in a tight
hug from behind when the catcher donned a red "Make American Great
Again" cap and said, "I love you all. Thank you."
The praise likely buoyed Trump, whose appearance at the Game 5 World
Series match-up drew boos and chants of "lock him up" from the crowd in
a capital city that is overwhelmingly Democratic.
Pitcher Sean Doolittle declined the White House invitation, citing
Trump's mimicking of a reporter's disability on the campaign trail and
policies that discriminate against LGBT people.
Trump's administration has banned transgender people from the U.S.
military, cut funding for HIV and AIDS research and supported the right
of medical providers and adoption agencies to deny services to LGBT+
[to top of second column]
President Donald Trump embraces Washington Nationals catcher Kurt
Suzuki as he welcomes the 2019 World Series champion Nationals on
the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 4,
2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
"I can't get past that stuff," Doolittle told the Washington Post
this week. Other Nationals players, including star third baseman
Anthony Rendon, were absent but it was not immediately clear why.
Trump inserted his own political commentary into the event, jokingly
taking aim at a House of Representatives-led impeachment inquiry
into his presidency, over accusations he pressured Ukraine to
investigate political rival Joe Biden.
"America fell in love with Nats baseball. That is all they wanted to
talk about, that and impeachment," he said. "I like Nats baseball
much more," he added, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Despite the political tenor of the remarks, the Nationals General
Manager Mike Rizzo appeared to praise the Nats for staying out of
"When you read about the Washington Nationals, you read about (them)
in the sports section and I think that is very important," he said,
noting that the team "unified a region when the region needed
unifying the most."
The team fought back from scoring deficits, overcame a series of
injuries and fended off a long list of powerful opponents on the way
to capturing their first title last week.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Howard Goller)
[© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2019 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.