The Rev. Franklin Graham has expressed support for a Washington Nationals player who wore a “Make America Great Again” hat when meeting President Donald Trump at the White House.
The president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse took to his official Facebook page on Tuesday to defend Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki for wearing a MAGA hat at a meeting on Monday.
“Go Kurt Suzuki!” posted Graham, getting as of Wednesday morning over 36,000 likes, about 5,400 loves, and about 4,900 shares. “What’s wrong with wanting to make our country great anyway?”
After winning their first World Series, the Nationals were invited by Trump to the White House. Suzuki was among the players who attended, wearing a MAGA hat and receiving a hug from the president.
The show of support garnered a fair amount of criticism on social media. Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, called the Trump support “sad.”
“I love Kurt Suzuki as a player. But he wore a MAGA hat to the White House, so I will not cheer him. Not quite as bad for Ryan Zimmerman, but his praise for Trump is hard to take,” tweeted Ornstein, getting as of Wednesday over 750 retweets and more than 6,200 likes.
Graham argued that the “progressive left is so vicious and quick to attack anyone who supports President Donald J. Trump.”
“They don’t care what’s best for the nation, they just want President Trump out of office,” he stated. “I appreciate Kurt Suzuki and other team members showing their respect and support for the President and our country.”
While Suzuki and other Nationals players attended, pitcher Sean Doolittle, who has openly expressed liberal political opinions in the past, declined the invitation.
“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,” explained Doolittle, as reported by The Washington Post.
“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.”