Between lawyer Michael Avenatti‘s arrest and Attorney General William Barr‘s favorable ruling on Mueller’s report, President Trump was so happy on Monday that he last minute decided to change the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions visit to the White House on Monday from a private event to a public ceremony.
Naturally, things got weird as soon as Trump started to talk. Trumped wished the team well in the upcoming 2019 the playoffs and said, “Most importantly, we welcome the entire Capitals team.” But the whole team was not there.
Not every player from the winning Washington Capitals squad accepted Trump’s invitation, Braden Holtby, Devante Smith-Pelly and Brett Connolly respectfully declined, MVP Alexander Ovechkin and the rest of the team made their way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“I’m a hockey fan and I’m a Capitals fan,” Trump said, before pointing to Ovechkin. “I have no choice but to be his fan. He is something special. Look at those hands, huh. Special guy. Special athlete… player. They all are. They won something last year and it was just…. It’s all people wanted to talk about. I couldn’t get them to focus on other things that we deal with that are important.”
As one point, Trump cut his speech complimenting Ovechkin and asked, “Where’s Ivanka? She’s a friend. She’s a big fan.”
“Thank you for having us,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a huge honor to be here. We have the same group of guys and we’re going to try to do it again.”
Right on Trump’s left shoulder was team owner Ted Leonsis, who held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. “Ted, I’m your fan of you,” Trump said.
When Trump pushed Ted to say a few words to “his fans out there” as “you have a lot of them” the Capitals team owner said, “It’s a great honor to be here in the Oval office and the team is very, very respectful in the process that it takes to win. We hope to make the community in Washington, D.C. proud and try do it again this year. Thank you very much for all of your hospitality here in the White House. It’s a true thrill for all the players in the organization and a great honor.”
Listening closely to Ted’s comment, it seems he’s shading Trump. Reminding him that he didn’t win the popular vote, or take to the Presidency in a “respectful” way.
An Instagram fan handle known as @FromRussiawithGlove posted a photo from the Oval Office with the caption “Make the White House [Russian] Again.
Last year’s Stanley Cup Champs, the Pittsburgh Penguins, celebrated at the White House, while the 2018 Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, had their invite rescinded after the President learned how many players weren’t planning to come, and only 34 players, from the New England Patriots, half of the number which are eligible, went in 2017. Back-to back NBA Champs, the Golden State Warriors made it clear they had no plans to ever celebrate with Trump in 2017, and then again in 2018.
Since Trump was elected, not one of the four NCAA Men’s or Women’s championship teams have visited The White House. Even if a winning team does accept the invitation, there’s controversy. When the Clemson Tigers travelled to D.C. to celebrate their Jan. 7 win over Alabama, it was as if the President and his team forgot they were coming, and the collegiate champions were served an array of McDonald’s, Domino’s and Burger King fast food.
This was actually the Clemson Tigers’ second time heading to the White House, the only championship team to do so during Trump’s tenure, but when they visited Trump in 2017, the party in the East was a much classier affair.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders then blamed the cheap party on the democrats.
At the time, it was Day 24 of the government shut down and Sanders tweeted that the democrats’ “refusal to compromise on border security and reopen the government” led to the President serving Big Macs and pizza.