Alex Cora, the manager of the Boston Red Sox, said he would decline to visit the White House on Thursday when his team is honored for last fall’s World Series title.
His decision was first reported by El Nuevo Dia.
Mr. Cora said Sunday in a statement that he was uncomfortable celebrating the victory when his native Puerto Rico was still recovering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“Unfortunately, we are still struggling, still fighting,” he said. “Some people still lack basic necessities, others remain without electricity and many homes and schools are in pretty bad shape almost a year and a half after Hurricane Maria struck.”
“I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten, and my absence is no different. As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House.”
While a number of teams and players have declined to visit the White House, Mr. Cora was unusual in issuing a rebuke to Mr. Trump while stating his reasons for not going.
Mr. Cora has been a critic of what he sees as inadequate relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
Among the Red Sox players who have said they won’t attend the ceremony are Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Price. Several of the players declined to elaborate on their reasons for skipping the event. Hector Velazquez, a Mexican, said of his decision, “I made the choice not to go because, as we know, the president has said a lot of stuff about Mexico.”
Among those planning to go to the White House are J.D. Martinez, Steve Pearce, and Chris Sale. Owner John Henry and several front office officials will also attend.
“We fully support Alex and respect his decision,” team president Sam Kennedy told The Boston Herald. “I know it was a hard decision for him.”
“I appreciate Alex for talking openly with our team and supporting those who are looking forward to being honored on Thursday.”
Mr. Trump has tangled with critics over the country’s response to Hurricane Maria, disputing the number of deaths caused by the storm and the level of relief financing by the government.
Visiting the White House for the traditional celebration of championships has been a fraught issue for many teams in Mr. Trump’s years in office.
The Golden State Warriors of the N.B.A. suggested they were unsure about a White House visit after their last championship, then had their invitation rescinded. Many of the team’s players have been openly critical of the president.
After a Super Bowl win in 2018, a sizable number of Philadelphia Eagles said they would not attend a ceremony, and that team too was disinvited.
The University of Virginia men’s basketball team cited scheduling conflicts in declining an invitation last month, though several players also criticized Mr. Trump.
Tiger Woods will be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday, and the Baylor women’s basketball team attended a White House ceremony last Monday.