A Capital Visit With the President: Trump Welcomes Winning College Football Team as Honored Guest

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Evan Vucci, AP Images

After attending the College Football National Championship Game, President Trump and his wife Melania welcomed the winning team, LSU, for a visit to the White House. On Monday, January 13th, the team top ranked team faced off against Clemson who was third in the standings. The game was played in New Orleans where LSU took great victory in a 42-25 overall win. That Friday is when the team made their way to Washington D.C to meet with the president. 

After arriving at the White House, President Trump said “The team is said to be one of the best ever, maybe the best ever.” Then, the President showed off the famous Resolute Desk in the Oval Office and had players take pictures behind it. At one point in their visit, LSU players awarded President Trump with his own LSU football jersey displayed with his name on the back. Since this was labeled as a “quick visit,” it is unknown whether or not the players were served a meal at the White House. While visiting the National Capital, the team also payed a visit to The National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

The tradition of hosting championship teams in the White House dates all the way back to August 30th of 1865, when President Andrew Johnson welcomed the Brooklyn Atlantics and Washington Nationals amateur baseball clubs. It wasn’t until 1869 when Ulysses S. Grant hosted the first professional baseball team in Washington D.C., the Cincinnati Red Stockings. From then on, John F. Kennedy hosted the Boston Celtics being the first NBA champions to take a team visit to the White House in 1963. 

Ronald Reagan truly made the “champion visit” a regular occurrence, hosting multiple different teams throughout his presidency. Among these teams were the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, in which President Reagan threw a pass to Washington wide receiver Ricky Sanders during the team’s visit in 1987. 

Today, over ten championship sports teams visit the White House each year. Recently, Presidents Bush and Obama have included NCAA Division I champions in inviting them to make a visit to the White House. In recent years, it has become customary for teams to do some kind of community service while visiting the Nation’s Capital.