The White House is pushing an interesting version of the events of the last week, putting the blame for the cancellation of the Eagles trip on the team, and doing something that looks an awful lot like trying to drive a wedge between the Eagles and their fans.
Via Jonathan Tamari of Philly.com, an official statement from the White House said that, last Thursday, the team informed them that 81 people were coming for the planned visit. They claim that, on Friday, the team called back to tell them a much smaller number of people would be attending, and also attempted to reschedule the visit for next week.
(Never mind the fact the Eagles have a mandatory minicamp next Tuesday through Thursday, and that the President is traveling to Singapore.)
“The White House, despite sensing a lack of good faith, nonetheless attempted to work with the Eagles to change the event format that could accommodate a smaller group of players,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, the Eagles offered to send only a tiny handful of representatives, while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend the event, despite planning to be in D.C. today. In other words, the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans.”
Coupled with a tweet from Fox News producer Fin Gomez — which said only two or three players, owner Jeffrey Lurie and the mascot were coming — and there’s clearly a bait-and-switch narrative being advanced by the White House.
The Eagles tiptoed carefully around the topic in their initial statement, though we know that Lurie privately has much stronger thoughts. When he was secretly taped in a meeting with players, Lurie referred to the current administration as “one f–king disastrous presidency.”
It will be interesting to see if Lurie has any more thoughts in the future, after a week that has shown beyond a doubt that the NFL erred in thinking they could pacify Donald Trump with their hastily-composed anthem policy.