Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki surprised President Trump Monday by donning a “Make America Great Again” hat during the team’s visit to the White House to celebrate its World Series victory.
The president asked Suzuki to come to the mic and “say a couple words” after congratulating him for his “amazing three run homer” in the bottom of the ninth inning in one of the games. As the catcher strode toward the microphone, he popped a MAGA hat on his head and raised his arms high to acknowledge the crowd.
“I love him! Aww!” Trump cried, as he hugged the player from behind. “That’s so nice!”
“I love you all,” Suzuki told the crowd on South Lawn of the White House. “I love you all. Thank you.”
“What a job he did. I didn’t know that was going to happen!” Trump quipped to laughter in the crowd.
Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki wears a 'Make America Great Again' hat at the White House and Trump hugs him pic.twitter.com/5RbtolhVXP
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 4, 2019
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman also struck a Trumpian note in his remarks thanking the president for the “incredible honor” of being invited to the White House. “Thank you for keeping everyone here safe in our country and continuing to make America the greatest country to live in the world,” he said, as he gifted the president with a personalized Nationals jersey with the number 45 on the back.
“Thank you, that’s so nice!” Trump responded.
“Thank you for keeping everyone here safe in our country and continuing to make America the greatest country to live in the world.” – @Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman pic.twitter.com/r7oPujKhZN
— Trump War Room (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TrumpWarRoom) November 4, 2019
In prepared remarks, the president, flanked by the First Lady, congratulated the team for capturing “the hearts of baseball fans across the region and across the country.”
“America fell in love with the Nationals baseball,” Trump said. “That’s all they wanted to talk about – that and impeachment. I like Nats baseball much more.”
“You reminded us all why baseball is truly America’s past time,” he continued. It was the team’s first World Series win since 1924.
Although most of the Nationals players and coaches were in attendance for the White House ceremony, eight players boycotted the event, including “star third baseman Anthony Rendon, center fielders Victor Robles and Michael A. Taylor, infielder Wilmer Difo and pitchers Sean Doolittle, Joe Ross, Javy Guerra and Wander Suero,” according to the Hill.
Doolittle said over the weekend that he would decline the visit, citing Trump’s rhetoric. Doolittle and his wife work with Syrian refugees and have been outspoken in support of the LGBTQ community and on other social issues.
“There’s 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,” Doolittle told the Washington Post.
The president praised what he described as a “record” crowd at the celebration.
“We’ve never seen this many people on the front lawn of the White House so congratulations,” he said. “Just another record for the Nats,” said Trump.
At the start of the event, the Marine band played “Baby Shark” – the walk up song for outfielder Gerardo Parra that was embraced by the whole team for the team.
“It became the anthem for the Nats fans everywhere,” Trump said. “That turned out to be a very, very powerful little tune.”
The Nationals celebrated their victory with a parade in Washington on Saturday that attracted throngs of fans.
The Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in Game 7 of a nail-biter series that concluded the day before Halloween last week.
“We’re going to call this Washington Nationals Day,” Trump told the jubilant crowd. “I just want to congratulate you. Enjoy the lawns of the White House. This great building is celebrating great people—and that’s the Washington Nationals!”