Trump grabs Washington Nationals catcher in bizarre embrace at White House

Kurt Suzuki puts on red MAGA hat as he steps up to microphone before president hugs him

Phil Thomas
New York
@philipthomaspt
Monday 04 November 2019 21:52
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Donald Trump embraces Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki

Donald Trump embraced Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki in an awkward hug as the president hosted the World Series-winning team at the White House.

The president was praising Suzuki's "amazing three-run homer" in a speech when he broke off and said: "Where's Kurt? Where's Kurt? Come here. Come here. Say a couple of words, come on."

As he stepped forward Suzuki put on a red MAGA hat to Mr Trump's obvious delight.

The president threw his hands up in surprise and grabbed Suzuki's shoulders from behind. He then moved his hands down to the 36-year-old's chest, gave him a hug and shouted: "I love him! That's so nice."

Suzuki said: "I love you all. I love you all. Thank you."

He shook hands with the president and stepped away. Mr Trump said: "What a job he did! I didn't know that was going to happen."

The unusual embrace quickly drew online comparisons to the way Leonardo DiCaprio holds Kate Winslet on the prow of the ship in the film Titanic.

Introducing Max Scherzer, a pitcher, Mr Trump joked: "I asked the first lady, do you think I can throw a ball as fast as him? She said, yes darling, absolutely. I don't think so."

The Nationals won the World Series for the first time ever following a sensational seven-game showdown against the Houston Astros.

Several thousand people - about 5,300 by the White House's official count - gathered on the South Lawn of the White House to see the team, prompting the president to say: "This is a record. We’ve never had this many people on the front lawn of the White House, so congratulations."

However, according to the Associated Press, some 13,500 gathered on the South Lawn in 2008 to greet then Pope Benedict XVI.

At least one Nationals player, Sean Doolittle, chose not to attend the event.

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He justified his decision by 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.

"My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 's***hole countries."

This story originally mistakenly referred to Kurt Suzuki as a pitcher rather than a catcher

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