Presidents of the United States have been doing these kinds of things for, oh, about as long as anyone can remember.
Professional sports teams win championships. They get invitations to come to the White House to receive a nation’s congratulations delivered by the head of state. They have a few laughs. They take plenty of pictures. They hand the president a ceremonial jersey, usually with the name of the president and the No. 1 on the back.
That’s not how it goes with Donald J. Trump in the White House.
Oh, no. He decides to weigh in on a controversy created by young men who decide to “take a knee” to protest police brutality. The president goes on the stump and says something about team owners firing any “son of a bi***” who declines to stand for the National Anthem.
The players object. Some of them don’t want to go to the White House. The president disinvites them.
Then all hell breaks loose. Other athletes condemn the president. The White House responds. Back and forth it goes.
Good ever-lovin’ grief, man!
The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. Most of the team accepted a White House invitation. Then most of them backed out. The White House issued a critical statement that accompanied a picture of Eagles players kneeling in prayer prior to the start of a game, but then said falsely that they were “taking a knee” out of protest.
The president has managed to turn feel-good ceremonies into a sort of political demonstration that does nothing but engender harsh feelings.
This is how you “unify” a nation? This is how you define “winning”?
It’s how I would define “presidential petulance.”