The Atlantic

Which America Is Trump Celebrating?

The president’s patriotic pageant renews a question dating back to the first White House visit by a champion sports team.
Source: Library of Congress

Here’s the thing about the pilgrimages that championship sports teams make to the White House each year. It’s a tradition rooted in efforts to achieve national unity. Like the broader American project, at their best these visits promote an expansive vision of America, a diverse society finding commonality in shared symbols and common rituals.

But the first such visit was rooted in a very different vision of American society—uniting white Americans by excluding blacks from sports, from civic rituals, and from political equality. As President Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House on Monday, he loudly insisted that he still wished “to honor our great country” and “celebrate America.” His statement did not specify, though, which version of America he intended to celebrate.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min read
The Window for Brexit May Already Have Closed
Parliament is delaying Johnson’s plan—and generational replacement has undercut its support.
The Atlantic3 min read
Nothing Will Persuade White Evangelicals to Support Impeachment
New polling suggests that Trump’s base is totally unified behind the president, no matter what investigations might reveal.
The Atlantic7 min readPolitics
The ‘Messy and Angry’ Prospect of Ireland Reunifying
Changing demographics and sentiment signal that the possibility of a reunion is increasing. Yet few are prepared for what that means.