RCL Exclusive

White House Fires Back: Eagles ‘Decided to Abandon Their Fans’

Trump admin released a blistering statement, blaming the team for the president’s decision to cancel its visit.

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President Trump didn’t win the Super Bowl, but he made it clear on Monday night the White House celebration for the reigning NFL champs was his party and he’d invite who he wanted to.

As a result, the victory party planned for later today no longer has the Philadelphia Eagles on the guest list, a situation that has led to criticism from players, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, journalist Dan Rather and many others. 

In the wake of the criticism, the White House released a blistering statement on Tuesday afternoon. In a statement from spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House blamed the team for Trump’s cancelation of its visit and also said “the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans.”

According to the White House, the Eagles originally said they would be bringing a party of 81, including players, coaches and managers, to their ceremony. Then it claims that, last Friday, the team attempted to reschedule because many players had decided not to attend and asked to visit on a time when Trump would be overseas.

“The White House, despite sensing a lack of good faith, nonetheless attempted to work with the Eagles over the weekend to change the event format that could accommodate a smaller group of players,” according to the statement. “Unfortunately, the Eagles offered to send only a tiny handful of representatives, while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend the event, despite planning to be in D.C. today.  In other words, the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans.”

As a result of all the back-and-forth, Trump decided to nix the visit entirely.

The original announcement about Trump revoking the Eagles’ invitation was made yesterday evening in a statement that was issued by the office of the press secretary, not by a tweet from the president.

“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow. They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our country,” the statement read. “The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”

Of course, after the news broke, the president did feel the need to tweet about it.

As the statement mentioned, the Eagles were planning to send a smaller group of players and team personnel after many players—including Chris Long, Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith—said they would not go to the White House as long as President Trump was in it.  

The decision to send a smaller contingent was made after the team held meetings and Philadelphia owner Jeff Lurie decided he didn’t want to put his players “in a tough spot.”

Reports have varied, but it sounds like fewer than 10 players were planning to make the trip to D.C. and none of them were black.

In lieu of the White House celebration with the team, President Trump has invited the fans who were planning on attending to participate in a “different type of ceremony” that will involve the president and the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus “loudly and proudly” playing the National Anthem to pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect America.

At this point, it’s unclear how many, if any, of the invited fans will be attending the Eagle-less ceremony.

What is clear is many people with blue check marks – including players, pundits and politicians –  were unimpressed with President Trump’s decision to uninvite a second team from the White House (the Golden State Warriors were the first) and weren’t afraid to share their feelings on Twitter.

Here’s a sampling: