Philadelphia Politicians Go on Offensive After Trump Uninvites Eagles From White House
By Robert Moran
Ed Rendell, a diehard Eagles fan and former Pennsylvania governor, called Trump's decision to disinvite the Eagles from the White House "bordering on idiotic."
Rendell emphasized that Trump has repeatedly mischaracterized what the players were protesting: how blacks are treated in the criminal-justice system.
"The president should have expected this when he called some of the players 'sons of bitches' and saying they were dishonoring the military," Rendell said in a telephone interview. "This has nothing to do with the military."
Rendell also criticized Trump for apparently trying to punish Americans for exercising their constitutional right to free speech.
"If he's using this to gain political advantage, shame on him," Rendell said.
Mayor Kenney issued a statement calling Trump a "fragile egomaniac."
"The Eagles call the birthplace of our democracy home, so it's no surprise that this team embodies everything that makes our country and our city great. Their athletic accomplishments on the field led to an historic victory this year. Fans all across the country rallied behind them because we like to root for the underdog and we feel joy when we see the underdogs finally win. I'm equally proud of the Eagles' activism off the field. These are players who stand up for the causes they believe in and who contribute in meaningful ways to their community. They represent the diversity of our nation -- a nation in which we are free to express our opinions," Kenney said.
"Disinviting them from the White House only proves that our President is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend," Kenney said.
On Twitter, the news quickly rose to the top of the trending topics list in the United States.
Jane Slusser, Kenney's chief of staff, went viral with her photo comparison of Trump's inauguration and of Broad Street the night the Eagles won the Super Bowl.
"Our party was bigger than yours #FlyEaglesFly" she tweeted.
U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat who represents parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, weighed in with his own invitation for the team.
"The @Eagles are still welcome to visit the US Capitol. I will have @Wawa coffee waiting," Boyle tweeted.
He later tweeted a salvo aimed at the Trump personally.
"Trump wasn't welcome at Barbara Bush's funeral. He's not welcome at John McCain's funeral. And only 10 Eagles players were planning to attend the White House ceremony. He's just that much of an embarrassment.," Boyle wrote in Twitter.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, another Democrat, also tweeted an invite for the team:
"I'm proud of what the @Eagles accomplished this year. I'm skipping this political stunt at the White House and just invited the Eagles to Congress. @Eagles How about a tour of the Capitol?" Casey wrote.
"It's because our parade was bigger and cooler, isn't it? #sizematters #JealousyJawn," tweeted E. Amy Janke, interim chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of the Sciences.
"Nothing makes me prouder than the Super Bowl champion @Eagles refusing to visit Trump's White House. #PhillyPhilly !" tweeted Ed Glavin, a Philadelphia and Lindenwold native who is now an executive producer of the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Dennis DiGiovanni, who identifies himself as a resident in the Philadelphia area, supported the president's action.
"I'm glad Trump cancelled the visit. There are members of the Eagles who don't agree with some of his politics. They should respect the office of the president enough to go and be honored," DiGiovanni tweeted.
William Anderson, a conservative Philadelphia-area blogger, also sided with Trump over the Eagles.
"I'm an Eagles fan and I still love Trump for doing this. It wasn't all of them but they should've been respectful and manned up." Anderson wrote.
Another Eagles fan and Trump supporter disagreed.
"As an #Eagles and a #Trump fan all I have to say is I think the Eagles were treated unfairly. It's a huge honor to go to the WH and they did nothing to not deserve it. No player knelt all season. Players supported (VERBALLY) the players who knelt and that's it. Horrible decision," wrote "Dartmouth Mike."