President Donald Trump sings the National Anthem during a "Celebration of America" event at the White House on June 5, in lieu of a Super Bowl celebration for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles that he canceled.
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President Donald Trump’s decision on Monday to disinvite the reigning the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champions, to the White House was petty and uncalled for.
In a statement, Mr. Trump said the Eagles wanted to send a “smaller delegation,” and the fans who planned to attend the event “deserve better.”
That makes little sense. These visits are not really fan events. They are photo ops for the president and the team, and feel-good moments for everyone else.
Besides, only about half of the New England Patriots made the White House trip last year. Even Tom Brady stayed home to sort his socks.
But in that same statement, Mr. Trump betrayed another motive for disinitiving the team. The Eagles, Mr. Trump said, are “unable to come” because “they disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women our military and the people of our country.”
Nevermind that none of the Eagles players kneeled during the national anthem last year. Even if they had — especially if they had — the President should welcome them. Ask yourself: What would Ronald Reagan do?
Mr. Trump’s decision to cancel the Eagles’ White House invitation can only be seen as an act of political propaganda meant to play to his base. It disrespected the rights and opinions of those not of the base.
For this event is not about the anthem, or kneeling during the anthem. It is about sports, pride, and national unity.
It is about a simple, sane idea: Not everything has to be about politics, or the President.
When a championship sports team visits the White House it is supposed to be a moment that transcends, or at least escapes, politics. It should either be that — and we desperately need such moments — or not happen at all.
But Mr. Trump made it political, and personal, and diminished a nice custom. And if his cause is really the anthem and honoring the military, he cheapened that, too.
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