The Clemson Tigers are headed back to the White House after their national football championship win Monday.
President Donald Trump tweeted an invitation to college football’s new champions Tuesday, inviting them back to Washington for a celebration, the Tigers’ second in the last three seasons.
“Congratulations to a truly great football team, the Clemson Tigers, on an incredible win last night against a powerful Alabama team,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “A big win also for the Great State of South Carolina. Look forward to seeing the team, and their brilliant coach, for the second time at the W.H.”
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In 2017, the Tigers were one of the first sports teams that Trump hosted at the White House, a visit that marked the last time Clemson claimed a national title with a win over the top-ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama.
That visit was less controversial than other champions’ trips to Trump’s Washington. Several professional athletes and teams purposefully have avoided visiting the president in the White House, and others — from the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles to NBA champion Golden State Warriors — have been disinvited by Trump over criticism from star players.
When the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball team won the 2017 national championship, no invitation to visit the White House was extended to the team. After some public criticism from Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley and others in college basketball, the White House eventually did offer an invitation in November, seven months after USC’s big win.
Ultimately, Staley declined the White House’s invitation, arguing USC already had started its 2017-18 season. The champion Gamecocks never did visit Trump in Washington.
No time has been set for the Tigers to visit the White House.