WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Baseball pitcher Sean Doolittle has decided to forego a trip to the White House to celebrate the Washington Nationals’ World Series victory, saying he “just can’t” celebrate with President Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.
Doolittle, 33, is the only National so far to turn down the invitation to meet the president on Monday. He said one reason that he won’t go is that his wife’s parents are lesbians.
“I want to show support for them. I think that’s an important part of allyship, and I don’t want to turn my back on them,” Doolittle told the Post. Trump’s administration has banned transgender people from the U.S. military, cut funding for HIV and AIDS research and supported the right of medical providers and adoption agencies to deny services to LGBT+ people.
Doolittle also referenced Trump’s mimicking of a New York Times reporter’s disability on the campaign trail.
“I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked, or the way that he moves his hands? I can’t get past that stuff.”
“I want people to know that I put thought into this and, at the end of the day, I just can’t go,” Doolittle told the Post.
The Post said that other players were considering following Doolittle’s lead. The Nationals didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Doolittle said he was also disturbed by Trump’s divisive rhetoric, including using an insulting term to describe poor countries, and the president’s support among white supremacists and racists.
“The rhetoric, time and time again, has enabled those kind of behaviors,” Doolittle said. “That never really went away, but it feels like now people with those beliefs, they maybe feel a little bit more empowered. They feel like they have a path, maybe. I don’t want to hang out with somebody who talks like that.”
(Reporting by Diane Bartz, Editing by Franklin Paul)