Sports

The Astros' Visit To The White House Was As Awkward As Expected

by Penn Collins

March 14, 2018

The Houston Astros paid a visit to the White House on Monday, March 12, having been the lucky recipients of an invitation that wasn’t later rescinded as a posturing power move. Though the event went smoothly and without great incident, it was still, after all, a President Donald Trump media appearance and certain to contain a few bizarre and cringe-y moments. 

The team appeared largely intact, with only a handful of players (Carlos Correa, Ken Giles, and Francis Marte) declining the invitation, though none gave explicitly political reasons for their absence. 

With the appearance came the usual rote procession of handshakes, forced smiles, and stiff exchanges, but as Trump crossed paths with American League MVP Jose Altuve, it seemed as though at least one of them wasn’t interested in a handshake. Whether or not that was Altuve or Trump, or just the suggestion of circumstance is unclear, but this clip shows that they acknowledged each other without showing much in the way of affection. 

It would seem that Trump hadn’t been the one withholding if a subsequent interaction gives any more context. Trump called out Altuve by name, gave him a handshake that turned into repeated pats on the shoulder, which then, in turn, became an unprovoked dig at the MVP’s height (5’6”) as Trump bellowed, “He’s much taller than I thought.” 

The lone high point came when Trump ceded the spotlight to team owner Jim Crane, who spoke of the trying year that Houstonians and Texans had in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and conveyed his gratitude in bringing some joy to those affected with a World Series title. 

So while it wasn’t marred by any outbursts of clandestine gestures, the boring, ceremonial appearance was still brimming with the cringe-y encounters we’ve come to expect from Trump. 

Share image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

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