US President Donald Trump on Tuesday welcomed the Pittsburgh Penguins to the White House to celebrate them winning the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.
Trump opened the ceremony with some words about the California wildfire, saying he told California Gov. Jerry Brown that the federal government will help them.
He also said a few words for the victims of recent hurricanes and the Las Vegas shooting before switching to the NHL, riffing on several topics along the way.
“Not only are the Penguins the first team in the National Hockey League, literally, in nearly 20 years to be repeat champions, you also captured the Cup in three of the last nine seasons,” Trump said. “That’s pretty amazing, because I know the competition.”
Trump welcomed Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle, calling him a “great, great negotiator,” before referencing NAFTA.
“Ron, how about negotiating some our horrible trade deals they have made over the years?” Trump said. “Here’s what I want, I want to get him. Oh, I’d love to have Ron Burkle … I really mean that, if you want to get involved in negotiating NAFTA, I’d like it.”
Trump added, “Of course, he may not like that because maybe he’s on the other side. That’s what’s happening. That’s why it’s so hard to re-do these trade deals.”
After applauding co-owner Mario Lemieux’s golf game, Trump turned his attention to the players. Trump congratulated Sidney Crosby, saying, “Do you know how to win or what?” adding that Crosby’s legacy may now be greater than Lemieux’s.
Trump called Evgeni Malkin a “big, strong guy, tough,” and said he should be a basketball player because of his height. He also called Phil Kessel over to congratulate him, adding, “These guys don’t want to be politicians. They shouldn’t be. Don’t be a politician.”
Trump also drew laughs when he called the team “handsome.”
“Very handsome group of people. In fact, I don’t like standing in front of them,” Trump said. “First thing you know — we always like unattractive teams, right?”
In a possible reference to some New England Patriots football players who didn’t visit the White House and the Golden State Warriors basketball team, which had their invitation revoked by Trump, Trump said all of the players were glad to be there.
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