Baseball pitcher Sean Doolittle has turned down a trip to the White House to celebrate the Washington Nationals’ World Series victory, saying he ‘just can’t’ celebrate with President Donald Trump.
Doolittle, 33, is the only National so far to turn down the invitation to meet the president on Monday.
He said one reason that he won’t go is that his wife Eireann Dolan’s parents are lesbians.
‘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 told the Washington Post.
Since Trump took office, his administration has banned transgender people from the U.S. military, cut funding for HIV and AIDS research and supported the right of medical providers and adoption agencies to deny services to LGBT+ people.
Doolittle told the Washington Post that his decision to skip the meeting was ultimately based on ‘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.’
He noted that ‘My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the “s**thole countries,”‘ referring to supposed statements Trump had made during a meeting while speaking about Haiti, El Salvador and African nations in January 2018.
Even though he said he ‘wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it.’
‘I just can’t do it,’ he added.
Doolittle also referenced Trump’s mimicking of a reporter’s disability on the campaign trail in November 2015, when the then-candidate stood on stage and jerked his arms and made faces, as he referenced one of the reporter’s 9/11 coverage stories.
The reporter being referred to was the New York Times’ Serge Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition affecting the joints.
‘I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. 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.
‘I want people to know that I put thought into this and, at the end of the day, I just can´t go,’ Doolittle told the Post.
The Post said that other players were considering following Doolittle’s lead. The Nationals didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Doolittle said he was also disturbed by Trump’s divisive rhetoric, including using an insulting term to describe poor countries, and the president’s support among white supremacists and racists.
‘The rhetoric, time and time again, has enabled those kind of behaviors,’ Doolittle said. ‘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.’
SOURCE: Reuters, Daily Mail