Washington Nationals player says he won't visit Trump White House: 'I just can't do it'

Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle will not visit the White House with his teammates when President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE hosts the club to celebrate its World Series victory. 

Doolittle, a relief pitcher who joined the Nationals in 2017, told The Washington Post on Friday that he will not attend a White House ceremony scheduled for Monday because of his opposition to Trump. 


"There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country," Doolittle said.

"My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries,'" he added, referencing remarks Trump made in 2018 about immigrants coming from Haiti and some African nations. 

Doolittle went on to say that "as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it. I just can't do it.

Just two days after the Nationals won the franchise's first-ever World Series, the White House announced that Trump would host the club in a ceremony commemorating the title. Trump also congratulated the team following its Game 7 win over the Houston Astros, saying it had a "great season" and "incredible World Series."

Doolittle told the Post that he struggled with the decision to skip the White House visit, noting that he didn't want his absence to become a distraction. But he said that his opposition to Trump's policies and rhetoric meant that he wouldn't be comfortable making the trip.

Winning professional sports teams have traditionally visited the White House, though players from several major teams have clashed with the president in the past and declined to visit during Trump's tenure.

Several players from the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox skipped the team's visit to the White House in May. Manager Alex Cora, a Puerto Rican native, said at the time that he did not feel comfortable visiting given the administration's response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017.

After the Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship just a month later, guard Danny Green said the team likely wouldn't visit the White House, adding that the president "makes it very, very tough to respect how he goes about things and does things."

Braden Holtby, the Washington Capitals' star goalie, skipped the team's White House visit in March following its 2018 Stanley Cup victory.

Trump last year also disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles over the team's support of national anthem protests, though few players from the Super Bowl-winning team reportedly planned to attend the event before it was canceled.