Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, a Puerto Rico native who has been outspoken about its need for hurricane relief, indicated on Thursday that he may skip the World Series celebration at the White House over President Donald Trump’s policies toward the island.
Cora previously said he would make the traditional champion’s visit to Washington on February 15 to argue for more help for the American island that was devastated by Hurricane Maria. But in the wake of reports this week that Trump tried to redirect funds from Puerto Rico to Florida and Texas, Cora repeatedly prefaced his comments on Thursday with, ‘If I go ….’
‘We’ll see what happens,’ Cora said before the annual dinner of the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. ‘There’s a lot of stuff going on right now as far as the government and the shutdown and all that. If I go, I’ll represent Puerto Rico the right way.’
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, left, waves the flag of Puerto Rico as coach Ramon Vazquez holds the championship trophy during a parade to celebrate the team’s parade
U.S. President Donald Trump presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers in celebration of their national championship at the White House on January 14, 2019
Once a routine, non-partisan perk of winning it all, the traditional champions’ visit to Washington has become especially politicized lately, with some teams declining the invitation; in other cases, individual players stayed home.
The Red Sox have said they will go, while leaving it up to individual members of the organization.
And Cora wavered.
‘Right now I can say yes. It might change tomorrow,’ he said. ‘It’s not that I’ve changed my mind. But we’ll see what happens in the upcoming days.’
Cora said one issue is whether he can accomplish more by going or by staying home. He made it clear that he would not attend to ‘make a scene,’ but to ‘represent them the right way.’
‘I don’t know what kind of platform I’m going to have if I go,’ he said. ‘Sometimes, if you walk the other way and you get your back to whatever is going on, is it positive? I don’t know. Sometimes you’ve got to show your face.’
U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes the Houston Astros to the White House to celebrate their World Series Championship, in the East Room, on Monday, March 12, 2018
A vehicle drives through streets filled with floodwater and past destroyed homes caused by Hurricane Maria in this aerial photograph taken above Barrio Obrero in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cora, a native of Puerto Rico, previously said he would make the traditional champion’s visit to Washington to argue for more help for the American island that was devastated by Hurricane Maria. But in the wake of reports this week that Trump tried to redirect funds from Puerto Rico to Florida and Texas , Cora appeared to hedge on that statement Thursday
Soldiers assigned to the 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve, move cases of bottled water while working to clear roads of debris near Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. Cora previously said he would make the traditional champion’s visit to Washington on February 15 to argue for more help for the American island that was devastated by Hurricane Maria. He has since hesitated following reports this week that Trump tried to redirect funds from Puerto Rico to Florida and Texas
Catcher Blake Swihart, infielder Brock Holt and pitcher Ryan Brasier all said on Thursday they were looking forward to a White House tour.
‘It’s not every day you can just walk into the White House,’ Swihart said. ‘So it’s going to be a cool experience.
The most recent honoree was Clemson’s football team, which won the college national championship this month and visited Trump on Monday. Because of the federal government shutdown, Trump ordered in and served the Tigers fast food: pizza, burgers and fries.
‘That’s all my favorite foods,’ Brasier said.
Trump has butted heads with several of America’s most prominent athletes, such LeBron James, Stephen Curry and a host of NFL players who have protested inequality by refusing to stand during the national anthem.
During the 2018 NBA Finals, both James and Curry told reporters that they would not visit the White House. But, before the Warriors completed their second Finals win over the Cavaliers in as many years, Trump preemptively disinvited them.
‘I didn’t invite them,’ he told reporters. ‘I didn’t invite LeBron James, and I didn’t invite Steph Curry. We’re not going to invite either team.’
Similarly, the Warriors had missed the White House visit in 2017 amid public criticism between Curry and Trump.
Trump has been visited at the White House by many recent champions, including the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots, Alabama and Clemson football teams, as well as 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. (right)
Alex Cora previously appeared with the World Series trophy at Celtics and Patriots games
U.S. President Donald Trump poses for a picture during an event to honor the 2017 NCAA Football National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide, at the White House, on April 10, 2018
He also previously rescinded a White House invitation to the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles after it was learned that only a very small number of players planned on attending the 2018 event.
Trump has been visited at the White House by many recent champions, including the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots, Alabama and Clemson football teams, as well as 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr.
Trump also took time to applaud the Washington Capitals and Russian captain Alexander Ovechkin in June after the franchise captured its first ever Stanley Cup title.
‘Congratulations to the Washington Capitals on their GREAT play and winning the Stanley Cup Championship,’ read Trump’s Tweet. ‘Alex Ovechkin, the team captain, was spectacular – a true Superstar! D.C. is popping, in many ways. What a time!’
Ovechkin is a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, according to U.S. agencies, ordered interference into the 2016 election with the aim of hurting Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, and undermining the U.S. democratic process. The NHL veteran went so far as announce the start of a social movement he called ‘PutinTeam’ in a November post on Instagram.
In June, Trump took time to applaud the Washington Capitals and Russian captain Alexander Ovechkin after the franchise captured its first ever Stanley Cup title