WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump welcomed the Boston Red Sox to the White House Thursday afternoon to celebrate their 2018 World Series win.
"Each Red Sox player is a shining example of excellence living out an American sporting tradition that goes back many generations," Trump said, honoring the team on the White House South Lawn.
Trump, a native of New York, joked about the Red Sox's defeat of the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series, telling players "I think I'll be neutral in this one."
Some members of the team opted against neutrality.
Team manager Alex Cora, who is Puerto Rican, declined to attend the White House celebration, pointing to disagreements with Trump's political positions, including his administration's handling of hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
Other players who declined the invitation included Mookie Betts, David Price, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Hector Velazquez, Xander Bogaerts, Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez, according to the Boston Globe. All of them are people of color.
They aren't the first championship players to decline an invitation to a celebratory White House visit since Trump took office. The University of Virginiamen's basketball team recently decided not to attend a White House ceremony after their 2019 NCAA win. And Trump has made clear that some teams, such as the Golden State Warriors and the Philadelphia Eagles, were not welcome at the White House amid widespread criticism by players on those teams of the president and his policies.
After the brief ceremony on the South Lawn, Trump invited the Red Sox inside the White House for a private tour of the Lincoln Bedroom.