For the First Time, Trump Gives a Women’s Championship Team Its Own Celebration

This year, the University of Virginia, the men’s N.C.A.A. champions, turned down a visit, citing scheduling conflicts. Charlottesville, where the university is located, was the site of a white nationalist rally two years ago, and the president has not walked away from heavily criticized comment at the time that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the debate over white nationalism.

Complicating matters, Mr. Trump has not always taken rejections kindly. He rescinded an invitation to the N.B.A. champion Golden State Warriors in 2017, and in June canceled an invitation to host the Philadelphia Eagles in celebration of their Super Bowl victory after several team members were vocal about the racist undertones they saw in the president’s comments about athletes who knelt during the national anthem.

Mr. Trump’s revenge: throwing a “Celebration of America” party on the White House lawn, complete with a Marine band playing the national anthem.

Ms. Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx suggested that the White House was picking a team that was reliably aligned with the administration’s political views. Baylor, a conservative school, considered homosexual acts a punishable offense until repealing that language from its campus sexual misconduct policy in 2015. Brittney Griner, a Baylor graduate who currently plays for the Phoenix Mercury, has said that she was instructed not to disclose her sexuality — she is lesbian — when she played on the team.

“Why did South Carolina and Notre Dame not receive an invite?” Ms. Reeve wrote in an email. “Does the president only invite those who he perceives to align with his views? Unfortunately this president is making it a political statement rather than a celebration of basketball champions, which is what was intended since presidents began these type of celebrations in the 1980s.”

Christy Hedgpeth, the chief operating officer for the W.N.B.A., said in a statement that professional women athletes deserved to be honored, adding that “not celebrating the achievements of the W.N.B.A. champions is a missed opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue with these dynamic women.”

The obvious catch, of course, is that not all winning teams want the chance to engage with Mr. Trump.

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