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Championship-winning Tigers invited to White House; Jill Biden backtracks on possible Iowa invite
DENVER, Co. - President Joe Biden has formally invited the LSU Tigers and UConn Huskies to the White House to celebrate their wins in the women's and men's basketball finals.
Notably absent from the guest list is the Iowa Hawkeyes, whom First Lady Jill Biden publicly suggested could get an invite despite losing out to LSU on Sunday. The first lady backpedaled Tuesday on the suggestion, an idea which many in Louisiana felt downplayed LSU's win.
A statement from Jill Biden's press secretary clarified her comments.
Her comments in Colorado were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes. She looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House.— Vanessa Valdivia (@vvaldivia46) April 4, 2023
The president formally tweeted about the Tigers' invite shortly afterward.
We can all learn a lot from watching these champions compete — and I look forward to welcoming them at each of their White House visits.— President Biden (@POTUS) April 4, 2023
The reversal comes just a day after the first lady commented that she wanted to honor both LSU and Iowa after the title game.
"I know we'll have the champions come to the White House, we always do, so we'll have LSU come. But you know what? I'm going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come too because they played such a good game," Jill Biden said. "Winners and losers, that's sportsmanship, right?"
LSU star Angel Reese called the suggestion a "joke."
??????A JOKE. https://t.co/9SiOKQNqbj— Angel Reese (@Reese10Angel) April 3, 2023
The comments immediately drew ire from not just LSU fans and players, but high-profile figures in sports media and even several Louisiana lawmakers weighed in.
Louisiana Congressman Troy Carter released the following statement Monday evening:
“Louisiana State University’s Women’s Basketball team won the 2023 NCAA Basketball championship and should enjoy their historic victory singularly. With no disrespect to the outstanding players from Iowa, they did not win. The exceptional Louisiana Tigers are the indisputable winners of the championship, and this win is theirs and theirs alone. An invitation to the Iowa team would be at the expense of our Louisiana athletes. I know the First Lady meant no harm by commenting that the University of Iowa should also be invited to the White House, but her remark was an unintentional slight to the ladies of LSU and the citizens of Louisiana. I am respectfully requesting that these Louisiana champions enjoy the winner’s circle alone.”
Jill Biden was at the national title game on Sunday when LSU beat Iowa 102-85. Biden was in Denver on Monday to speak about Joe Biden's economic policies in the state.
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