Though multiple Philadelphia Eagles players said they wouldn’t visit the White House shortly after defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, much of the team and its staff was expected to meet President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

However, Trump unexpectedly pulled the plug on the Eagles’ visit Monday evening, citing the ongoing feud over NFL players protesting racial inequality by taking a knee during the national anthem.


According to Trump, “the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better,” and he will still host them at the White House for a different ceremony, during which the anthem will be played “loudly and proudly.”

President Trump on Eagles now not coming to White House. Not sure I’ve seen a presidential statement like this before…

— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) June 4, 2018

The NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie had met with players to discuss concerns over the White House visit and the team was going to send a smaller group than originally planned.

The Eagles held meetings with their players in recent weeks and, according to sources, Jeff Lurie didn’t want to put the players in a tough spot so he decided to send a smaller contingent. Other players were going to have an optional day at the facility. Now, no trip to D.C.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 4, 2018

Torrey Smith, who was traded by the Eagles to the Carolina Panthers after February’s Super Bowl victory, started his response to Trump’s statement with “So many lies smh.”

So many lies smh Here are some facts 1. Not many people were going to go2. No one refused to go simply because Trump “insists” folks stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military

— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 4, 2018

There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish

— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 4, 2018

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced he would skip the White House event and invited the Eagles to Capitol Hill:

I’m proud of what the @Eagles accomplished this year. I’m skipping this political stunt at the White House and just invited the Eagles to Congress. @Eagles How about a tour of the Capitol?

— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) June 4, 2018

Jane Slusser, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney’s chief of staff, used the snub to mock the low turnout at Trump’s inauguration.

Our party was bigger than yours #FlyEaglesFly

— Jane Slusser (@janeslusser) June 5, 2018

Former NFL EVP and White House press secretary Joe Lockhart took to Twitter with his reaction.

Official statements from the President used to be serious thoughtful expressions of national interest. Now they are childish rants. The latest—if some of the SB champs don’t want to come to the WH, then none of them are invited. POTUS will play with his toys alone tomorrow

— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) June 4, 2018

Trump continues to use players protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem as a point of contention. He may have violated federal law by urging NFL owners not to sign Colin Kaepernick, who started the anthem protests and alleges owners are colluding against him as a result of his activism. Last month, Trump suggested anti-racist NFL protesters should be removed from the country.


The league recently adopted new guidelines for kneeling during the national anthem, including potential penalties and fines for players that take part.

Trump’s decision was celebrated by many conservatives. Smith responded to a tweet from Turning Point USA executive director Charlie Kirk, noting that the Eagles were a strange target for Trump’s displeasure.

If you are going to tweet…tweet facts…no one on the Eagles took a knee last season……….

— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 5, 2018

The Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins protested by raising his fist all season and called Trump a social media troll. Chris Long was the first white NFL player to participate in anthem protests. Michael Bennett, who was recently traded to the Eagles, is facing 10 years in prison on dubious charges.

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