Nov. 4 (UPI) — President Donald Trump welcomed most of the Washington Nationals to the White House Monday afternoon with some supporters present and some players absent including one who has been critical of his policies.
The ceremony began with a Marine band’s rendition of the team’s unofficial anthem, “Baby Shark.”
“It became the anthem for the Nats fans everywhere,” Trump said. “That turned out to be a very, very powerful little tune.”
Trump gave Kurt Suzuki a hug from behind as the catcher wore a red “Make America Great Again” hat and stretched his arms out to acknowledge a large crowd of the teams’ fans on the South Lawn of the White House after Trump welcomed him to the podium.
“I love you all,” Suzuki said to the crowd. “I love you all. Thank you.”
“What a job he did. I didn’t know that was going to happen,” Trump said.
The president also welcomed Ryan Zimmerman, who gave him a Nationals jersey with the number 45.
Trump has been “continuing to make America the greatest country to live in the world,” and has kept the country safe, Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman also thanked Trump for the White House invitation.
Meanwhile, several players were not on the official attendance list, including Sean Doolittle, Anthony Rendon, Javy Guerra, Joe Ross, Wander Suero, Wilmer Difo, Michael A. Taylor, Victor Robles, Roenis Elias and catchers Raudy Read and Tres Barrera.
Though most of the absent players did not give reason for absence, Doolittle had previously told The Washington Post he wouldn’t attend because of the president’s policies and divisive rhetoric.
The event wrapped up a series of ceremonies honoring the Major League Baseball champs, which included a parade in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. The NHL’s Washington Capitals honored the team at its game Sunday night.
The Nationals won Game 7 of the World Series last week over the Houston Astros to secure the franchise’s first World Series championship — and the first for Washington, D.C., in 95 years.
Trump last welcomed a Washington, D.C., championship team in March, when he hosted the NHL champion Washington Capitals.