Baylor Women’s Basketball Team dine at the White House

President Donald Trump holds up a jersey that was presented to him as he welcomed members of the Baylor women's basketball team, who are the 2019 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Champions, to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

On Monday the Baylor women’s basketball team traveled to the White House for a reception in their honour hosted by President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. The Bears were treated to a spread of McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s which was served in the State Dining Room. But as reports he instead invited the team into the Oval Office which is where he hosted the Washington Capitals when they visited last month and were served the same menu of choice.

For an unknown reason, the previous two WNBA champions were not invited to the White House, in 2017 it was won by the Minnesota Lynx and in 2018 the Seattle Storm. It was there the first time an all-female team had visited the White House under President Trump’s reign. Previously there were male and female parties attending during 2017, but this was a first. It has been a tradition under many presidents, but there is a feeling that it has become more political with Trump at the helm. The Golden State Warriors had been invited, but that invitation was swiftly rescinded when there was talk that some of the players would boycott to make a political statement. The men’s NCAA title winners, the Virginia Cavaliers, were also invited but last week confirmed that due to scheduling conflicts they would not be able to attend.

Historically teams have attended the reception with the president, and when asked if she felt it was a political thing, Kim Mulkey the Bears coach, speaking to the Associated Press said “I’ve been every time for every president. It’s not a political issue for me. It’s an honour to go to the White House. I want everyone to say they went to the White House. Not many people can say that.” She had previously taken her team when they won in 2005 to visit with George W. Bush and returned in 2012 with the winning squad to attend Barack Obama, although it was the first time the food was from fast food takeaways.

The president was full of praise for the team who had a close call to take the victory winning 82-21 against Notre Dame to claim the NCAA title. From his questions, it seems that the president had not actually seen the game. To thank him for his hospitality the team presented him with a team jersey with his name printed on the back, a Baylor hat and a basketball signed by the team. To their delight, the president wore the hat after asking “Am I allowed to wear it? I’ll mess up my hair, but that’s okay; it is mine. It was also noted by the coach that the jersey maybe too small and suggested that perhaps the First Lady Melania might wear it instead. Overall the visit seemed to have been well received on both sides and has perhaps shown other teams that the gesture can be taken in good spirits.