Donald Trump unmoved by boycott of White House visit by some Red Sox players
Last Updated: 10/05/19 8:32am
Donald Trump was unmoved by the decision of several black and ethnic minority Red Sox players to boycott the team's visit to the White House to celebrate their World Series win.
Team Manager Alex Cora and nearly a dozen players skipped the event, where US President Donald Trump celebrated their "unstoppable" season, which included a playoff win over the team he supports, the New York Yankees.
"Frankly, they were unstoppable. I watched," said Trump, skipping any mention of Cora or the absent players by name at the ceremony that lasted about 10 minutes. "In the playoffs, you bested your archrivals, the Yankees. I think I'll be a neutral on this one. But you did! You beat them."
Earlier in the day, when asked by a reporter about the controversy, Trump said, "I like the Red Sox."
He also defended his administration's relief efforts in Puerto Rico, which was a primary reason for Cora not to attend.
"We gave Puerto Rico $91bn for the hurricane," Trump said. "The people of Puerto Rico should really like President Trump."
USA Today cited PolitiFact, which stated Congress has allocated $41bn in aid to the island, of which only $11bn has been spent thus far.
The White House initially spelled the team nickname incorrectly, calling the Red Sox the "Red Socks".
Without Cora, the Red Sox were led by four white executives - owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, president Sam Kennedy and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
Kennedy told the Boston Herald: "We fully support Alex [Cora] and respect his decision."
Among the absent players were Mookie Betts, the reigning American League MVP, and star pitcher David Price, who are black, along with several Latino players.
Third base coach Carlos Febles, a native of the Dominican Republic, and Cuban-American outfielder J.D. Martinez, who gave Trump a No 18 Red Sox jersey, did attend the event on the White House South Lawn.
"We don't see it as a racial divide," Werner said when asked about the players who chose not to attend. "I think to the extent that we can, we think that baseball is apolitical."
Though other athletes and teams have passed on the White House celebrations, Werner said the Red Sox never considered missing it. He said they were all grateful to be there, also enjoying a visit to the Oval Office and a tour of the Lincoln Bedroom.
"No, I think we were honoured by it," Werner said. "People watch sports as a way to get away from their daily problems. And to us, this was a great tribute to what was a great championship."