The 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox are scheduled to visit the White House on Thursday, May 9, on an off-day following the conclusion of their three game series against the Baltimore Orioles. But after months of speculation as to whether the team's manager Alex Cora, a 43-year-old native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, would attend the visit hosted by Donald Trump, as Boston.com reported earlier this week, Cora has now announced that he will boycott team's White House trip.
Last November, in the days immediately following the Red Sox' five-game World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cora initially said that he would go along with the team on the visit, but he soon changed his mind and said he was undecided, according to The Boston Globe. Red Sox team officials say that the White House visit is optional for all team personnel.
Cora on Sunday issued a statement to the Puerto Rican Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Dia, explaining that Trump's handling of disaster aide to Puerto Rico following dual hurricanes that left the United States territory devastated in 2017 was the main factor in his decision to skip the team's White House visit, saying that "he does not feel comfortable celebrating" with Trump.
When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2013, the team visited the White House, then occupied by President Barack Obama, without incident. But 2018 and 2019 present a very different picture.
"We are still struggling. Some people are unable to meet basic needs, others are without electricity, and many houses and schools are still in poor condition, a year and a half after Hurricane Maria," Cora told El Nuevo Dia in his statement.
Cora also made clear that the Red Sox organization took no position on whether or not he would attend the White House visit.
"This is a personal decision and it does not reflect in any way the feelings of the rest of our organization," he said in the statement. "Each individual has their own beliefs that must be respected."
As recently as Friday, May 3, the Trump administration said that it would delay sending a new package of $8.3 billion in disaster aide to Puerto Rico, according to the Washington political site Roll Call.
In April, Democrats in the Senate blocked a multi-billion dollar disaster relief package aimed at midwestern states, because the bill contained only $600 million for food assistance to Puerto Rico, an amount that Democrats said was not nearly enough, according to The New York Times.
The block on aid to the midwest prompted a new series of attacks from Trump aimed at Puerto Rico's political leaders, whom he blasted as "grossly incompetent" and "crazed," according to The Times. "Their government can't do anything right, the place is a mess — nothing works," Trump wrote on Twitter.
In response, Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo A. Rosselló posted a tweet of his own, reminding Trump that Puerto Ricans "are not your adversaries, we are your citizens."
Red Sox pitcher Hector Velazquez, a 30-year-old native of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, has also said that he will not attend the White House visit, as Inquisitr reported, due to derogatory public statements made by Trump about Velazquez's home country.