Pelosi Calls Out Trump for War on NFL, NBA

Sports are ‘where we put our differences aside,’ minority leader says

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said President Donald Trump should have used the controversy surrounding NFL national anthem protests as an opportunity to "bring people together.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As President Donald Trump uninvited the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from their White House visit and called any NFL player who kneels during the national anthem before games a “son of a bitch” over the weekend, Rep. Nancy Pelosi struck a different tone about the interplay between sports and politics.

“I have always said sports and the arts will bring America together,” the House minority leader said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s where we put our differences aside.”

Pelosi represents California’s 12th District, nestled in San Francisco, home to Colin Kaepernick’s former team, the 49ers, and Stephen Curry’s Warriors.

In June, as reports circulated that the Warriors might skip their visit to the White House, Pelosi extended them the option of visiting the Capitol instead.

“The @Warriors’ leadership is inspiring,” she tweeted. “I’d be honored to welcome the team to the U.S. Capitol. #DubNation.”

Pelosi’s office has not been in touch with the Warriors organization about a visit to the Hill since her initial invitation, according to a source familiar with the situation.

But Pelosi spokeswoman Taylor Griffin told Roll Call the leader’s offer still stands.

“Steph Curry, the Warriors, and their families are always welcome to the United States Capitol,” Griffin said in a statement.

The president dedicated 11 of his 22 tweets over the weekend to NFL players’ national anthem protests, setting off a firestorm of debate and shining just as bright of a spotlight on the pregame sidelines as on the fields during games.

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” the president tweeted Saturday. “If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

He also took aim at Curry, uninviting the two-time MVP’s team from their White House visit for “hesitating” to accept the invitation.

With the tweet, Trump broke a 54-year tradition of presidents offering to host the reigning NBA champions and earned the public ire of scores of NBA figures, including the league’s preeminent star, LeBron James, who called the president a “bum.”

Pelosi said Sunday she thought Trump should have used the controversy surrounding the Warriors’ White House visit “to bring people together,” and she characterized his response as “feeding red meat to his base.”

“I think he was ill-advised, if he was advised at all, to go down this path,” she said.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.