Trump can't even hold a basic photo op with this year's Super Bowl champions without messing it up.
Hosting the Super Bowl champions at the White House is supposed to be a simple enough tradition for a normal president to observe, but for Trump, nothing is simple or normal.
And because some members of the Philadelphia Eagles decided they’d pass on the chance to pose with Trump — the man who has made it one of his top priorities to see them punished for exercising their First Amendment — Trump is lashing out.
The White House released an awkward statement Monday night, which randomly switches from the third person to the first person for no justifiable reason, the day before the Eagles were supposed to attend a photo op with Trump, announcing that because some players want nothing to do with Trump, he now wants nothing to do with them — any of them.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” the statement reads. “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”
The statement goes on to claim — and who knows whether it’s true or not, given the source — that the Eagles want “to send a smaller delegation,” but their fans “deserve better.” So Trump is disinviting the entire team, while allowing the fans to participate in “a different type of ceremony,” where the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus will “loudly and proudly play the national anthem.”
Winning the Super Bowl, and being honored for it, has nothing to do with the national anthem. But for Trump, the humiliation of having even one player refuse to suck up to him after he said those who silently protest police violence “shouldn’t be in the country” was simply too great.
So he would rather honor a song than this year’s winning football team.
Trump hasn’t had the best luck with professional athletes. Last year, after the Pittsburgh Penguins won the NHL Stanley Cup, the team visited the White House but decided not to share evidence of its visit on its social media accounts.
It seems they weren’t quite as proud to pose with Trump as they had been to pose with President Obama; those pictures were widely shared in previous years.
Several members of the New England Patriots, last year’s Super Bowl champs, also passed on a visit with Trump.
“Basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House. With the President having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t,” said defensive back Devin McCourty.
So now, because some of this year’s Super Bowl winners feel the same way, the White House has revoked the invitation to the whole team. Leave it to Trump to screw up something as simple as a smile and a handshake for some proud winners.