Athletes at the very top of their game now face a side effect of success that did not really exist in 2016—the victory lap visit to the White House is now something many have come to dread.
Since Donald Trump was elected, America’s professional and collegiate athletes continue to decline the so-called “honor” of meeting with the president after their greatest triumphs; this week, members of Team USA joined those ranks.
Olympians from the 2018 Games have been invited to go to the White House today. I will not be going. I will not stand with people who discriminate against those that they perceive as different. In lieu of going to DC, I have donated to a few of my favorite causes ????????♂️❤️ https://t.co/qDXqswTHdF
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) April 27, 2018
Of course, the rotting tangerine golfer-in-chief made sure to find a way to alienate those Olympians who actually did show up.
During a ceremony honoring U.S. Olympic and Paralympic competitors from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, President Donald Trump expressed his own apparent personal discomfort with watching the athletes with disabilities compete.
“What happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me,” Trump said. “And I watched—it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.”
Watch below for the exact moment Trump goes off-book and veers into thinly-veiled ableism.
WATCH: During an event with Team USA Olympians and Paralympians at the White House, President Trump said, "What happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me. And I watched — it's a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could." pic.twitter.com/geYUUu9vmg
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) April 27, 2018
What a terribly insensitive thing to say in any situation, but particularly at a celebration of elite athletes who just busted their butts to bring these United States great honor on a world stage. Unfortunately, it’s pretty tame by Trump standards. It also ignores that his entire presidency is what’s really “tough to watch.”
Outrage predictably ensued at Trump’s utterly predictable disrespect to our nation’s best winter athletes.
Trump on the Paralympics…
"so incredible & so inspiring to me. & I watched — it's a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could"
— Warriors Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) April 28, 2018
Current mood: Having no regrets about missing this trip. https://t.co/xxcKxKz6NL
— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) April 28, 2018
TRUMP (talking about Paralympians): It’s a little tough to watch, but I watched as much as I could.
Imagine losing your legs then fighting your way to the top of a new sport only to be INSULTED by the President of the United States.pic.twitter.com/algPdZL4Sb
Ã¢ÂÂ Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) April 27, 2018
Team USA also had thoughts on the matter. This tweet from the Paralympics official account says it all.
Record numbers around the world are not finding @Paralympics tough to watch. Billions of viewers now take in the Paralympics in hundreds of countries around the world. We hope the US President continues to watch and be inspired by the Paralympics. https://t.co/3jhr5Fd8tT
— Paralympic Games (@Paralympics) April 28, 2018
That’s class right there.