- The White House disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from the traditional post-championship visit on Monday after as few as two players were expected to be in attendance.
- The White House blamed the Eagles, accusing the team of “abandoning their fans.”
- The White House instead hosted a “celebration of the American flag,” at which Trump did his best to sing along to “God Bless America.”
The Philadelphia Eagles did not end up taking part in their scheduled ceremonial White House visit after being disinvited on Monday night just hours before the event was set to take place.
On Tuesday, the White House elaborated on its decision to cancel the event, accusing the team of “abandoning its fans” in a statement.
As the statement explained, the White House expected 81 individuals to attend the event, but later attempted to reschedule because many players would not attend. President Trump was set to be travelling on the other days proposed by the team.
The statement concluded:
“Unfortunately, the Eagles offered to send only a tiny handful of representatives, while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend the event, despite planning to be in D.C. today. In other words, the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans.
“Upon learning these facts, the President decided to change the event so that it would be a celebration of the American flag with Eagles fans and performances by United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus.”
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) June 5, 2018
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins also responded to the cancellation with a statement of his own. Jenkins, one of the Eagles to raise his fist during the anthem, cited the work that the team had done throughout the year in the community and noted that none of his teammates knelt during the anthem during the 2017 season, making the White House’s emphasis on patriotism incongruous at best.
“The decision was made to lie, to paint the picture that these players are anti-America, anti-flag and anti-military,” says Jenkins near the end of his statement.
You can read it in its entirety below.
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) June 5, 2018
While the Eagles were not present, the Trump still did host an event on Tuesday, which the White House claimed was to be “a celebration of the American flag.”
At his Celebration of America event, Trump doesn't appear to know the words to "God Bless America." pic.twitter.com/fzwe1gFejM
— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 5, 2018
Skipping out on the ceremonial White House visit may continue to become more and more of a regular occurrence.
Players from both teams competing in the NBA Finals have expressed that their teams would not be attending should they go on to win the championship. And while the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros did visit the White House photo op,the scene included quite a staredown towards Trump from its star player.
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