David Ortiz has visited multiple presidents to celebrate multiple Boston Red Sox championships.
But if he was still on the team, he'd be staying home Thursday.
In a phone interview Monday with WEEI's Rob Bradford, Ortiz admitted he would follow manager Alex Cora's lead by declining to visit the White House, in part because of President Donald Trump.
"Of course, bro," Ortiz told Bradford. “Alex is in a tough spot right now, going there and acting like nothing is happening.
"It’s like you are going to shake hands with the enemy. Think about it, all the stuff that has been going on since (Trump) took office. People are angry. People are mad. He has divided people, that’s how it feels like."
Cora, a Puerto Rico native, cited Trump's handling of post-Hurricane Maria recovery efforts in his decision not to go. Several of Boston's minority players -- Mookie Betts, David Price and Xander Bogaerts among them -- also won't make the trip.
In his typical candid style, Ortiz pointed to his status as a minority and an immigrant -- he became a U.S. citizen in 2008 after growing up in the Dominican Republic -- for why he'd join those players in solidarity.
“I’m an immigrant," Ortiz said. "When it comes down to the political side of it I don’t know much about politics and things like that. But when it comes down the way immigrants have been treated it’s something that goes a long way. You don’t want to go and shake hands with a guy who is treating immigrants like (expletive) because I’m an immigrant."
There still will be a healthy contingent of Red Sox executives and players at the Oval Office on Thursday, and team president and CEO Sam Kennedy has stressed he doesn't want to make the trip political. In Ortiz's mind, though, it would impossible to separate a simple commemoration of the 2018 World Series champions from the politics of the person in office.
"Once you see what is going in this country based on being an immigrant or being black, it’s something that goes beyond going into the White House and shaking hands with the President just because," he added. "That’s the situation that everyone is facing right now."
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