Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle has announced that he will not join the team Monday when it visits the White House, pointing his finger at President Donald Trump.
Washington won the World Series on Wednesday night, and the team was invited to see the White House and meet with Trump as a result.
Doolittle spoke to The Washington Post on Friday and outlined the reasons he would not be in attendance.
“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. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance,” Doolittle said, noting that he believes reports claiming Trump spoke dismissively of several third-world nations and that he and his wife work with refugees from those nations.
“At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it,” Doolittle continued. “I just can’t do it.”
The Post indicated other Nationals players may also boycott the visit, but did not name names.
Although Trump has previously pointed out that under his watch, the economy has produced record lows in terms of black unemployment, Doolittle said Trump’s record on race relations was one reason he would not attend Monday’s event.
Further, he said his wife, Eireann Dolan, has two mothers who are active in the LGBT community.
“I want to show support for them. I think that’s an important part of allyship, and I don’t want to turn my back on them,” Doolittle said.
Doolittle’s decision caused a buzz on Twitter.
Doolittle you really should do less thinking. You talk about Trump. You judge and talk about more people than he ever has. You respect others but not your teammates. If you want to help someone you don’t have to go to another country. You just divided America even more. Go north
— pricelin3 (@linwoodNats) November 2, 2019
So Nats pitcher Doolittle does want to visit the WH. Because his wife has 2 mommies. Because Trump language is divisive. Sorry Snowflake! Your absence will not be noticed!@realDonaldTrump
— Tony Adkins (@Captain_Tony_A) November 2, 2019
Doolittle said claims that Trump mocked a disabled reporter back in 2015 also factored into his decision. Trump later denied accusations that his comments were meant to mock the reporter in question.
“I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter,” Doolittle said. “How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked, or the way that he moves his hands? I can’t get past that stuff.”
Doolittle said some people have told him he should attend to show respect for the office of the president, but the pitcher said he does not agree.
“People say you should go because it’s about respecting the office of the president,” Doolittle said. “And I think over the course of his time in office he’s done a lot of things that maybe don’t respect the office.”
Doolittle claimed Trump’s comments have enabled white supremacists.
“That never really went away, but it feels like now people with those beliefs, they maybe feel a little bit more empowered. They feel like they have a path, maybe. I don’t want to hang out with somebody who talks like that,” he said.
Doolittle said he would neither argue over his decision nor change it.
“I don’t want to get mad online, as they say,” he said. “I want people to know that I put thought into this and, at the end of the day, I just can’t go.”
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