Alex Cora, the manager of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, initially said he would visit the White House to celebrate the team’s latest championship. But now that plan may be in jeopardy, and amazingly it has nothing to do with the prospect of getting served cold fast food.
No, Cora has given a hard second look at a visit to the residence that’s become the fanciest venue for lukewarm burger consumption in the continental United States. But the issue at hand is not what a White House with furloughed chefs would serve the players that decided to go, but rather another on the long list of controversial things Trump has done.
Cora and some members of the championship-winning team took the World Series trophy down to Puerto Rico — an American territory — shortly after they dispatched the Los Angeles Dodgers in late October. Cora is from Puerto Rico, and initially, he said he would visit the White House to represent the island with respect.
But news that Trump tried to divert disaster relief funds in a still-recovering Puerto Rico has reportedly changed the tenor of what is supposed to be a joyous celebration of the Red Sox’ triumph. According to the Boston Globe, Cora is having second thoughts about a trip to D.C.
“Right now I can say yes,” Cora told the Boston Globe. “It might change tomorrow.”
The story says plainly that Trump’s handling of Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria is the reason Cora is reconsidering attending the event, currently scheduled for Feb. 15.
“In the offseason I was like ‘whoa.’ It’s different right now back home,” Cora said. “Not only for me but for my family. So we’ll see. We’ll see. I’ll represent them the right way. We’ll have to wait.”
Cora at least in part reiterated that he wants to “represent Puerto Rico the right way,” and he did not outwardly criticize Trump’s reported efforts to take away badly needed aid for Puerto Rico. But he made it clear that the situation is much more in flux than it perhaps once was.
“There’s a lot of stuff that is going on right now,” Cora said. “You read what’s going on back home. It’s not easy. I’m back home. I see everything that is going on.”
In Puerto Rico, whether Cora should visit the White House is a topic that far transcends baseball. To a lesser degree, the same is true for Puerto Rican catcher Christian Vazquez.
“If I go, I’ll represent Puerto Rico the right way,” Cora said. “I don’t know what kind of platform I’ll have if I go. It’s not that I’ve changed my mind, but we’ll see what happens in the upcoming days.”
A White House source told the Globe that Cora’s comments did not change any plans for the Red Sox scheduled visit. That is notably different than Trump’s reaction to when Steph Curry said he would not visit the White House with the Golden State Warriors, which were extended an invitation in 2017 but later saw that disappear when Trump tweeted about Curry once reports about his disinterest surfaced.
The fallout from that — which was on the heels of Trump calling Colin Kaepernick a “son of a b*tch” for nonviolently protesting during the national anthem while a member of the San Francisco 49ers — sparked numerous athlete protests and LeBron James to famously call Trump a “bum.” Since then, no NBA team has visited the White House. Whether Cora, along with any additional members of the champions who would want to stand with their manager, follows that precedent remains to be seen.