The split-attendance on Thursday only underscores the President’s fraught history with champion athletes.
Some have publicly shared their reasons for declining the invitation, some have not.
Trump has long been a racial lightning rod, from his tepid response to the violence of white nationalists to his stark anti-immigrant rhetoric throughout his time in office and campaigning.
But he has frequently railed against African-American NFL players who have protested police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem. Players have said the protests, which began in 2016, are intended to draw attention to what they see as systemic bias against people of color.
For Cora, a Caguas, Puerto Rico, native, it’s the administration’s widely-criticized response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, which left nearly 3,000 people dead in 2017. Cora said he did not “feel comfortable” celebrating at the White House.
“Even though the United States Government has helped, there’s still a long road ahead and that is OUR reality. I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten and my absence (from the White House) is no different. As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House,” Cora said.
Asked Wednesday about Cora’s absence, Trump again stated a misleading number.
“Puerto Rico, just so you understand, we gave Puerto Rico $91 million,” Trump said, adding that that was the “largest amount of money given to any state” for disaster relief.
More than half of that $91 billion is based on the White House’s estimates for costs FEMA could incur in years to come.
The additional $50 billion, administration officials told the Post, “(refers) to an internal Office of Management and Budget estimate of the potential liabilities over the life of the disaster that would need to be committed under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988. The estimate was described as a high-end estimate subject to change year by year.”
CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.