President Trump’s decision to host North Dakota State’s men’s football team at the White House on Monday for winning the NCAA’s secondary division has sparked criticism from activists over the president’s continued failure to honor any women’s sports teams for their accomplishments.
Before Trump became president, every women’s college basketball champion since 1983 had been invited to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But since Trump’s inauguration, not a single women’s championship team has visited the White House solo. Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team, which won the 2018 NCAA title, wasn’t invited, nor were the past two WNBA champions, the Minnesota Lynx in 2017 and the Seattle Storm in 2018.
“It’s hard not to think that gender is playing a role here,” said disappointed Lynx Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve in an interview with The Washington Post last year.
The only time women’s teams have visited the White House under Trump was in November 2017, when the president feted 18 men’s and women’s college championship teams together. The South Carolina Gamecocks, the 2017 women’s NCAA champions, turned down the offer to attend the shared event. Coach Dawn Staley explained the decision to decline by saying the team felt disrespected after Trump ignored them for months before belatedly extending an offer.
While celebrating the North Dakota State football team on Monday, Trump said that he didn’t hesitate for a second after being asked by Senator John Hoeven to honor them. Some 17,802 people attended the Bison’s championship game. By comparison, 19,599 fans attended the Notre Dame women’s basketball team’s championship victory.
“It didn’t take long, I can tell you,” said Trump. “We also happen to love that state. Maybe I’d feel differently if it was someplace else, but it wasn’t. A special place.”
Read the full story at The Washington Post.