USA Today resident progressive sports writer Christine Brennan is demanding that our 2020 Olympic athletes delay a visit to the White House until after the presidential election. President Donald Trump's tweetstorms and manipulative behavior would simply be "a terrible distraction" for U.S. Olympic competitors, she predicted. And besides, Brennan wrote the athletes should not be used as pawns in Trump's "cutthroat Washington chess matches."
Brennan has called on the Trump administration and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to reach an agreement to delay a White House appearance by the athletes until after the Nov. 3rd election. Furthermore, Brennan wrote:
"Trump’s record on White House visits by sports teams is by now well known. He has taken one of the most benign slices of Americana and turned it into a self-aggrandizing fiasco. He makes decisions about which teams can come to the White House and which ones can’t based on personal slights and preposterous misinformation. Athletes who should simply be allowed to celebrate their achievements become pawns in Trump's cutthroat Washington chess match."
We certainly can't have any Republican presidents politicizing the Olympics while the media is already actively doing that. It was just last year when USA Today turned the Winter Games into a forum for attacking Vice President Mike Pence. "It would have been better if Pence had not come at all," USA Today's David Meeks wrote from South Korea.
A visit by Olympians to the White House in the midst of the most important election campaign of our lifetime would be totally inappropriate, Brennan insisted.
During press conferences at the Olympic trials next June and during the Tokyo Summer Games, athletes will no doubt be asked if they will visit the White House. Who'll be asking those questions? Why, it will be reporters from Brennan's own USA Today and many other media intent on importing American politics to the Olympics in Japan. The Games will be tarnished because the subject will become "one of the overwhelming story lines of the Tokyo Olympics," Brennan fretted, overlooking the media's history of setting those narratives.
A pre-election visit by Olympians to the White House would be the "photo op of all photo ops," Brennan feared: "Trump surrounded on the White House South Lawn by celebrated Olympic athletes decked out in red, white and blue. There’s no telling how he might manipulate the moment for his purposes. One can imagine him using Olympians and Paralympians as props for a final election ad."
There are additional reasons why Olympians should not fraternize with President Trump, Brennan assures her readers. Some athletes have courageously spoken out against Trump, "a man who has used racist, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic language, has bragged about sexually assaulting women and has mocked a disabled person, among his many insults and taunts."
Past Olympians have already skipped a White House invitation. Among them were "stars like Lindsey Vonn and Adam Rippon" in 2018, Brennan recalled. She also reminded readers how the U.S. women's national soccer team, led by the outrageous Megan Rapinoe, snubbed the President just last month after winning the World Cup. She was the "victim" of Trump's "crazy tweetstorm" during the World Cup, and it would unbearable for a repeat of that during the 2020 Summer Games:
"Can you imagine, the President of the United States picking a fight with an Olympian representing the country overseas at that moment? Of course we can. Trump did it in June with Rapinoe while the wildly popular U.S. team was in the process of winning the World Cup in France."
A visit to Trump’s White House and "the sagas they inevitably produce are the last thing Olympians should have to worry about in the midst of the biggest competition of their lives," advised Brennan, the protector of fragile athletes everywhere. "Take the White House out of the equation until after the election, then, win or lose, give Trump a chance to host whoever wants to show up later in November, or in December," she added
Brennan's final suggestion was for Olympians to journey to the White House after the next presidential inauguration. That would certainly create a safe space for any snowflakes who would be reassured by a Democrat presidential candidate's victory.