Hosting the national championship-winning University of Alabama football team at the White House on Tuesday, President Donald Trump took the opportunity to praise the squad’s achievements.
“It was truly a win for the ages,” Trump said of the Crimson Tide’s 26-23 overtime win over the University of Georgia. “I don’t know if you know, but I was there.”
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) April 10, 2018
“It will go down as one of the most exciting finishes in college football history — of any sport,” Trump added, according to The Washington Post.
In addition to praising Alabama, Trump took the time to do something even more special with members of the team — pray with them.
JK Scott and a few other players just prayed with President Donald Trump
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) April 10, 2018
Photos and videos captured at the scene indicated that Alabama punter J.K. Scott asked Trump if he could pray for the president, and Trump obliged. The players then appeared to join in a prayer circle with the leader of the free world.
“It looks like JK Scott organized a prayer circle with Trump,” tweeted AL.com reporter Michael Casagrande, though the photo he posted didn’t really need a caption.
It looks like JK Scott organized a prayer circle with Trump. pic.twitter.com/2MKPTSmT3S
— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) April 10, 2018
WBRC sports reporter Christina Chambers even posted a video of the “cool moment” when Trump and the players bowed their heads and prayed.
What a cool moment! .@AlabamaFTBL JK Scott asked @POTUS if he could pray for him and his staff. Video below shows President Trump and Bama players praying after the Tide's @WhiteHouse visit! @WBRCnews @BarrettSallee pic.twitter.com/tE4hj4k38l
— ChristinaWBRC (@ChristinaWBRC) April 10, 2018
By all indications, many of Alabama’s players, regardless of their political affiliations, were very excited to meet Trump at the White House.
“It’s an incredible honor for us to be invited to the White House,” said Crimson Tide running back Damien Harris, who has criticized Trump in the past, according to BamaInsider.com. “It’s something that comes with being a national champion, so we’re really thankful for the opportunity. There’s a lot of young guys who haven’t been able to make that trip yet, so we’re glad we got guys who can go for the first time and experience it the way we did when we were young.
Despite the fact that some championship-winning sports teams have declined to visit the White House during the Trump administration, Alabama coach Nick Saban made it clear the Crimson Tide wouldn’t be one of them.
“Coach (Nick) Saban addressed it and just said, ‘Hey, we’re doing this regardless of your political thoughts. We’re going just to celebrate this team. It’s an honor. The White House is something that you can cherish forever,” said offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher.
“That was basically the extent of that,” he added.
Meanwhile, though Alabama has been to the White House before (the Crimson Tide have won five of the past nine national championships), Trump changed the tradition in one small way. He invited Saban, university President Stuart Bell and Athletic Director Greg Byrne into the Oval Office, The Post reported.
“You’ve been here six times and this is your first time in the Oval,” Trump told Saban, who also visited the White House after winning a title with LSU “They didn’t invite you. Trump invites you.”
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