Winning a professional sports championship is hard work. The Philadelphia Eagles proved that over the course of half a century until they finally did it in February. Stuff like the parade and the traditional visit of the champions to the White House, that’s supposed to be the easy part.
But nothing is uncomplicated with President Donald J. Trump:
The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
As usual, the President’s version of reality doesn’t quite match up to, like, facts:
President Trump cancels Philadelphia Eagles’ White House visit. Former Eagles player Torrey Smith noted that not a single Eagles player took a knee during the regular NFL season. pic.twitter.com/JL2hW9i4MI
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 5, 2018
For their part, the Philadelphia Eagles organization is taking the slight in stride. The Eagles’ statement addressing this situation tacitly but pointedly omitted mention of the President or the White House:
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) June 5, 2018
With all this class oozing from the Eagles, a franchise that right now cannot seem to do anything wrong, you might be worried that this city has gone soft. Maybe we lost our edge? No worries there. Jeffrey Lurie doesn’t have anything to gain by antagonizing President Trump, but Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney sure does:
Philly mayor Jim Kenney's statement is pointed.
After President Trump disinvited the #Eagles to the White House, Kenney calls him "a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend." pic.twitter.com/90pHhIR4SU
— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) June 5, 2018
Kenney could have delivered roughly the same message with just the first and third paragraphs in that statement above, lauding the team for its national imprint, its accomplishments and its work in the community. Noting that City Hall is always open for a celebration is a nice touch, too.
Of course, it’s that second bit that turns a benign and benevolent defense of the city’s professional football team into a national story. Calling the President a “fragile egomaniac” and labeling him “not a true patriot” used to be the sort of thing that cost mayors their jobs. Now it’s just something they do on a Monday in June. Even Kenney’s Chief of Staff, Jane Slusser, got in on the act:
— Jane Slusser (@janeslusser) June 5, 2018
The Army/Navy game returns to Lincoln Financial Field in December. President Trump has from now until then to cobble together his nonsense excuse not to show. We’ll see who’s disrespecting the military then.