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Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle told the Washington Post that President Trump's rhetoric is behind his decision not join the World Series champions during their visit to the White House on Monday.

What he's saying: “There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country," Doolittle said.

  • “At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it,” Doolittle told the Post. “I just can’t do it.”
  • Doolittle mentioned his wife, who has two moms: “I want to show support for them. I think that’s an important part of allyship, and I don’t want to turn my back on them."
  • “I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter," Doolittle said. "How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked, or the way that he moves his hands? I can’t get past that stuff.”
  • "My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘shithole countries,'" Doolittle said, referring to Trump's comments in a 2018 meeting.

The big picture: Doolittle is among several high-profile athletes to decline an invitation to the White House for political reasons during the Trump administration.

  • Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals also declined a visit after winning the Stanley Cup this year.
  • So did some of the most prominent members of last year's Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden and Vice President Harris review readiness of military troops, a long-standing tradition to signify the peaceful transfer of power.

13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

President Joe Biden vows to be “a president for all Americans”

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden sought to sooth a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, but warned that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

The big picture: Moments after taking the oath of office, Biden spoke on the Capitol’s West front, from the very steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier. They were attempting to overturn an election where Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by more than 7 million votes.

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as president and vice president respectively in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Top Democrats and Republicans gathered for the peaceful transfer of power only two weeks after an unprecedented siege on the building by Trump supporters to disrupt certification of Biden's victory. Trump did not attend Wednesday's ceremony.