White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders slammed the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday for trying to use their White House visit to "make some type of political statement" toward President Trump.
President Trump rescinded the Super Bowl-winning team’s invite to the White House on Monday because they disagreed over his belief that everyone should proudly stand for the National Anthem.
This came after the White House learned that the Eagles would be sending a “smaller delegation” to the event because many opted out of attending.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins issued a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, stating that not one of the players knelt during the anthem last season and saying that the decision Trump made was “to lie, and paint the picture that these players are anti-America, anti-flag and anti-military.”
When pressed to respond to Jenkins’ statement, Sanders said that he and his 80 teammates who RSVP'd and then "tried to change their commitment at the eleventh hour" were trying to pull a "political stunt" so the President decided to change the event in response.
"If this wasn't a political stunt, then [the team] wouldn't have planned to attend the event and then backed out," Sanders said.
"They wouldn't have waited until the very last minute to make these changes if this wasn't about some type of political statement that they were trying to make toward this president," she went on.
“The Eagles are the ones that tried to change their commitment at the eleventh hour and the president frankly thinks that the fans deserve better than that,” Sanders fired.
While the Eagles’ White House visit was cancelled, Trump announced Monday that there would still be a “a different type of ceremony” at the White House, “one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem,” he said in a statement.
“We will proudly be playing the National Anthem and other wonderful music celebrating our Country today at 3 P.M., The White House, with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. Honoring America! NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!” he tweeted.
“We stand to honor our military and honor our country, and to remember the fallen heroes who never made it back home,” said Trump at the event, which took place at the White House Tuesday afternoon. “America’s a great nation, a community, a family. And America is our home. We love our home.”
Check out a clip from the event below.