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Trump's Disinvitation of the Eagles Commits the Cardinal Sin against Philadelphia - Slighting Them

Monday evening, less than 24 hours before they were scheduled to visit the White House, Trump "disinvited" the Super Bowl Champion Eagles from coming.

The "reasoning" for disinviting the Eagles - if you can call it that - was included in a statement released by the White House.

"They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly (sic) stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart (sic), in honor of the great men and women of out military and the people of our country," it reads, conveniently ignoring the fact that no Philadelphia Eagles kneeled during the National Anthem during the course of the entire season.

I don't think Trump fully comprehends what he has done.

Certainly Trump probably thinks he is speaking to his "base" - the people Trump thinks voted for him in 2016, and people who think will continue to vote for him and his preferred candidates in the future.

But Trump's bottomless bad faith in "disinviting" the Eagles wasn't just a propaganda coup for every Philadelphia-area Democrat running for office.  It was an act of bad faith that was colossally stupid for a completely different reason - its unnecessary alienation of a huge number of Pennsylvania voters that might, under different circumstances, approve of what he's doing.

I make no bones about my dislike of Donald Trump.  Every day, his policies and actions show an amazing cruelty towards innocent people that to me have no justification.

But the absolute worst thing about him and his Presidency is how he has normalized bad faith.

It is not just that Trump defines any fact that is less than flattering to him as "fake news".  It is that words mean so little to him that he will say and do anything and use his current power of the bully pulpit not to appeal to the better angels of people's nature, but to do things that make no sense and have no positive value.

As a result, we don't assume Donald Trump has any deep-seated convictions about anything except himself.  If he says anything, it's has one reason only: a feeble attempt to make himself seem bigger.  Any words can be used toward this goal; any slandering of anyone else is fair game.

Today, the subject of Trump's ire was the Philadelphia Eagles.  The players made him unhappy because they don't approve of him or his policies.  Jeffrey Lurie made him unhappy because he said some bad things about him.  Unsurprisingly, the Philadelphia Eagle players did not enjoy being slandered as sons-of-bitches and being told they should be fired if they don't stand for the anthem.

So Trump decided to attack using something he doesn't really care about to attack these people: the National Anthem.

Let's not pretend Donald Trump has any deep-seated feelings about the National Anthem.  To Trump, the use of the National Anthem is merely a weapon to be able to be used against the Eagles because he thinks it will have a reaction with people who support him.

Never mind that the Eagles have done more to aid charitable causes that Donald Trump has dreamed this past year alone; never mind that the Eagles all stood for the National Anthem last year.

Trump needlessly and effortlessly wields the national anthem like a prop, a gun, a sword, just to try to insult the Philadelphia Eagles.  Not a ruthless dictator; not someone slaughtering their own people; not a leader robbing their constituents - the Eagles.

Certainly there are many Philadelphia Eagles fans and players that don't like Donald Trump and his presidency.  And perhaps unsurprisingly, many Eagles allegedly had already decided that they weren't going to go to the White House.

But this Rose Garden ceremony was not for those who didn't want to be there.  It was never for them.  They were going to hate Trump and his policies no matter what.  This ceremony was for the players and fans who already were Trump supporters.

What Trump has done, even though he doesn't realize it, is that he's now basically taken a dump on his own fans, people who were going to take the day off of work and like Trump and were looking forward to a reasonably politics-free celebration of their President celebrating the team that they've been rooting for ever since Chuck Bednarik laid out Frank Gifford on Franklin Field.

Has the use of the bully pulpit ever been used for something this trivial - this insignificant?  People expect words from the Rose Garden to forge peace, or protect the world, not settle the pettiest of scores.  Trump has the command of the attention of the world - and he chooses to use it to pull a move that middle schoolers would find too immature to be realistic.

Of all the moves Trump has made, no move has made him seem a smaller man than this one.

And I don't think Trump realizes that Philadelphians will never forget this, ever.  Not in 2018, not in 2020, or beyond.  The people who crucified John Kerry over ordering a cheesesteak with Swiss Cheese will never forget this, because Philadelphians never forget anything.

You can treat them bad.  You can make fun of them.  But you cannot ever slight them.

When Scott Rolen left the Phillies, Philadelphians never, ever forgot.  Traded in 2002, I remember the lusty boos that Rolen got as a member of the Reds - ten years later.  Other players had left the Phillies and didn't get that level of sheer and unadulterated hate.  But Rolen, who wanted out of Philadelphia, forced management's hand to unload him to the Cardinals, and the fans never, ever forgot that slight.

Thus Trump committed the cardinal sin against Philadelphia - slighting them.

He could have simply decided in February not to invite the Eagles to the White House - that probably would have not been met with much issue.

He could have invited less than the entire team to the White House, celebrated with people who love Trump and love the Eagles, and it might have been a news item for maybe a day or less.  A few Philadelphia sports writers may have said something, but the rest of the world would have moved on rapidly to coal, or tariffs, or something.

But Trump had a party set up for the Eagles, waited until literally the last possible moment to cancel their celebration of the team - and did so in such a way that all Philadelphians, especially the ones that might actually give Trump the benefit of the doubt, will be hated with an intensity shared only by the Dallas Cowboys.

Certainly Trump thinks that he is doing something good for himself politically by deciding to slight the Eagles and their fans.  But he's a dope.  He has no idea the forces he's now mobilized against him politically in this part of the country.  He may not fear the power of slighting Philadelphians yet, but he sure will in 2018 and 2020.


John Miller said…
This guy has no idea of dissing the Eagles. This is his classic diversion, caused by the Manafort crisis. This Trump flashing the shiny penny, "Look over here".
Go Engineers!
Anonymous said…
That’s why everyone hates the eagles and all,Philadelphia sports teams. Stick to writing about Lehigh
LU808 said…
Ditto Anonymous
Anonymous said…
Ditto Anonymous...If he runs again, he will win by a landslide!!!
Anonymous said…
Ditto. If many on the team wanted to demean Trump, why should he give them the White House as a site to do that. If everyone one would just quit all this political BS and just graciously accept an honor as the Super Bowl winners, all would be well. If past champs chose to discredit Obama, they would be labeled as racist traitors - but Trump is fair game. Trump wasn't my first choice, but the voters have spoken, and we should all accept the results and not let politics creep into every aspect of our lives - especially sports. Will everyone realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but that your opinion is no more important than mine or someone else. Let's stop this incessant whining and complaining. I would hate to see football fans become flaming classless idiots like Robert DeNiro.
Anonymous said…
This is why I am done with this column. Mr. Snowflake just can't handle the fact that we have somebody in the WH that gets things done, unlike prior administrations. I'll get my LU news from the Athletics website.
Joseph Mangan said…
Chuck ….Please stick to Lehigh Football and not politics. This is inappropriate for the Lehigh Football nation site!
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