NCAA championship fencing team barred from giving Trump critical letter while visiting White House
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The NCAA championship-winning fencing team at Columbia University was reportedly blocked from delivering a critical letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE on Friday during a visit to the White House.

Before heading into the White House East Room for a photo opportunity, an aide told the team, which had planned to confront Trump on his administration’s gender equity policies, that Secret Service discourages visitors from handing things to the president, The Washington Post reported.

The letter, which the Post obtained prior to the group’s visit, mentioned the administration’s “continued acts of gender-based prejudice and partnership,” the newspaper reported.


"The victory for which you mean to honor us today cannot be separated from the diversity that comprises our team," their letter stated.

It continued, “We as collegiate fencers have committed our athletic careers to understanding how our individual strengths, irrespective of gender, may be best leveraged for the advancement of the collective. But while ours is a victory born from values of gender equality, yours is one shadowed by continued acts of gender-based prejudice and partisanship.”

Team members also told the Post before the event that they opposed the Trump administration’s views on reproductive rights, Title IX and the handling of sexual assault cases on college campuses as well as Trump’s treatment of and rhetoric toward women, the Post reported.

Before being escorted into the East Room, the aide took the letter and promised to deliver it to the president. It is unclear if Trump ever received the letter.

A staffer later told the team that the White House would follow up with their coach regarding another meeting if there was anything they wanted to discuss.

“Secret Service made it pretty clear that something could happen, and I don’t want to find out what that is,” one captain, Nolen Scruggs, told the Post regarding handing the letter to Trump.

However, team members still silently protested Trump by wearing a large white lapel pin meant to represent gender equality, according to the Post. The aide asked them to remove the pins, but they did not.

“The goal might not necessarily even be to communicate with the president, but to communicate with the American people and get them to jump-start a conversation that might not already be happening,” Scruggs told the newspaper after the White House visit. “There’s physical evidence that we did this, and just that alone is important.”