Nationals GM defends White House visit: Not 'trying to make a political statement'
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The Nationals general manager is defending the team’s visit to the White House following its World Series win, saying the team was not “trying to make a political statement.”

The team attended a ceremony at the White House earlier this month and received some criticism for some players' interactions with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE.

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General manager Mike Rizzo told USA Today Sports that the team wanted to follow the “tradition” of visiting the White House, especially because the team plays in the capital. 

“We weren’t trying to make a political statement, whatsoever,” Rizzo told USA Today Sports.

The general manager told the news outlet that the players had the choice to go or not. Several players chose not to attend the event.

“You’re in a situation where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t," he added. "I don’t have a political bone in my body.”

Catcher Kurt Suzuki, specifically, was blasted for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat to the podium at the White House ceremony, prompting him to receive a hug from behind from Trump.

The Nationals won their first World Series in franchise history last month.