WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump honored the Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins, calling them “true champions and incredible patriots.”
Trump welcomed the Penguins into the Oval Office on Tuesday. He celebrated their second consecutive championship in the East Room of the White House and singled out the achievements of playoff MVP Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and American Phil Kessel, among others.
Trump has grabbed a number of sports headlines in recent weeks, for his criticism of NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem and his decision to disinvite the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to the White House.
He joked that Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle should help him renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement but avoided any talk about other sports. The Penguins are the fourth championship team and third pro team to visit Trump at the White House, after the NFL’s New England Patriots, Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs and college football’s Clemson Tigers.
Crosby, coach Mike Sullivan and other members of the Penguins said this visit had nothing to do with politics. The team said in a statement it respected the tradition of visiting the White House.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan says visiting the White House is an honor.