Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle declines White House visit

A key member of the Washington Nationals World Series Championship team will not join his teammates Monday when they are honored by the president.

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Pitcher Sean Doolittle does not plan to attend the 1:15 p.m. ceremony on the White House South Lawn, The Washington Post reported.

"At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can't do it," Doolittle told the Post. "I just can't do it."

President Donald Trump congratulated the team on social media Wednesday after they beat the Astros 6-2, in Game 7. It was the team’s first title since 1924 when they were called the Senators.

"Congratulations to the Washington Nationals on a great season and an incredible World Series," Trump tweeted. "Game 7 was amazing!"

Trump attended Game 5 with wife Melania and was met with a smattering of boos and some fans chanting “lock him up.”

Doolittle is not the first athlete to decline an invitation to the White House.

"I don't want people to think I took the decision lightly, but I also didn't want to go and be a distraction in any way to anyone who wanted to have that experience," Doolittle told the Post. "I just figured it was best if I respectfully declined."

Last year, a contingent of Boston Red Sox players who are minorities did not attend. Members of the U.S. women's national soccer team said they would not accept an invitation to the White House. The president slammed the team and has not extended an invitation.

The Washington Capitals, who won the Stanley Cup earlier this year, were invited to the White house. The Washington Mystics, who won the WNBA championship, have not been.

"People say you should go because it's about respecting the office of the president," Doolittle told the Post. "And I think over the course of his time in office (Trump's) done a lot of things that maybe don't respect the office."

Doolittle who is involved in political and social causes disagrees with the president’s approach on myriad policies.

"I feel like there are a lot of issues, a lot of things that have been said, a lot of things that have been said by the president, a lot of things that have been done by the administration that I can't, no matter what, I can't reconcile with what I believe in, what I feel very strongly about," Doolittle told The Post. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country."

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