Trump hosts Red Sox for celebratory visit amid high-profile absences

President Trump on Thursday welcomed Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox to the White House to celebrate the team’s 2018 World Series championship despite some players opting not to participate.

Trump lauded the Red Sox as a “very special team,” recounting its “unstoppable” regular season performance where the group racked up 108 wins before defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

The team presented Trump, a Queens native and fan of the rival New York Yankees, with a commemorative No. 18 Red Sox jersey.

{mosads}Trump offered at the conclusion of the Rose Garden ceremony to give the team a tour of the Lincoln Bedroom. He made a similar gesture to NASCAR driver Joey Logano during a visit last week.

“They never get to see the Lincoln Bedroom,” Trump said. “It’s like, sort of, you’re not supposed to be showing it. So if the press, the media doesn’t report me for this, I’m going to take them up and show them the Lincoln Bedroom. They wanted to see the Lincoln Bedroom, so I’m going to give the tour myself.”

Red Sox ace pitcher Chris Sale thanked Trump for the “very high honor” of visiting and slugger J.D. Martinez expressed gratitude for the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be honored today at the White House.”

Sale and Martinez were joined by much of the rest of the team, as well as owner John Henry and general manager Dave Dombrowski.

But manager Alex Cora and a handful of other players were absent.

Cora, a native of Puerto Rico, said he did not feel comfortable visiting given the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017.

Reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts, pitcher David Price, third baseman Rafael Devers and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. were among the players who did not make the trip.

Price noted on Twitter ahead of the visit that those absent were mostly players of color. The pitcher on Tuesday shared a tweet from a columnist who quipped that “basically it’s the white Sox who’ll be going.”

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner told reporters after the Rose Garden ceremony that he considered the invitation a “tribute” and did not consider declining.

The Trump presidency has made traditionally standard White House visits for championship teams a fraught prospect for many athletes.

A number of teams and individual athletes have rejected invitations from the president, often citing his rhetoric and policies on race and immigration.

Tags Baseball Boston Red Sox David Price White House visit World Series

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