Clemson’s national championship football team will continue its victory tour on Monday, when it visits President Donald Trump in the White House.
Jan 8, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; Detailed view of the College Football Playoff national champion trophy won by Clemson Tigers during a press conference at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Trump made the announcement via Twitter on Friday.
“I look forward to hosting, right out of the great State of South Carolina, the 2019 NCAA Football Champion Clemson Tigers at the White House on Monday, January 14th. What a game, what a coach, what a team!” Trump wrote.
Led by head coach Dabo Swinney, the Clemson Tigers completed a 15-0 season by defeating Alabama 44-16 in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday.
Members of Clemson’s football program also visited Trump at the White House in 2017 after the Tigers topped the Crimson Tide 35-31 for the 2016 national title. However, that visit didn’t happen until May that year, when about a dozen players were invited to the Oval Office.
“All of you played with such tremendous heart and determination. You never, ever gave up,” Trump said then. “You can never give up in life. And it all paid off. With your grit and resolve, you proved one of the most important truths in life: that success is about how hard you are willing to fight in order to overcome and in order to win.”
Championship teams visiting the White House became a yearly occurrence when Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were in office. But controversy has reigned since Trump became president.
The Golden State Warriors have not been to the White House after winning back-to-back NBA titles in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Trump wrote on Twitter that Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry “is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
Last season’s Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, also didn’t go to the White House, and their invitation was rescinded after several players decided not to attend.
Among other championship teams missing out on the White House visit the past year have been the 2017-18 college basketball winners of the men’s (Villanova) and women’s (Notre Dame) NCAA tournaments, and the 2017 WNBA title-holding Minnesota Lynx, all of whom said they weren’t invited.
—Field Level Media