WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump received both cheers and boos from a World Series crowd Sunday night as he was displayed on Nationals Park’s video screen.
The mixed reception, which came during a ballpark-wide salute to US service members, wasn’t particularly surprising in predominantly liberal Washington, D.C. — and at a time when Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry — though it came on the same day that the President announced the US killed ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the world’s most wanted terrorist.
The President and first lady Melania Trump were sitting in a suite behind home plate at Nationals Park, joined by some Republican members of Congress, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Reps. Steve Scalise and Matt Gaetz, when they were shown on the big screen in right field during a salute to veterans.
As a shot of US troops came on the screen during the Nationals’ “Wave Your Caps” mid-inning segment, the stadium erupted in cheers before a shot of Trump appeared.
The crowd’s response shifted to boos instead of cheers, to which Trump smiled and continued to wave. The screen then cut back to the troops and read, “thank you for your service.” The boos dropped off, but some could still be heard.
After the salute was over, people in some sections of the crowd pointed angrily at the suite Trump was sitting in and chanted “lock him up.” In the outfield seats, the boos and chants of “lock him up” rang loud.
Frequent Trump critic and chef José Andrés threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game. Though Trump has thrown the first pitch at past MLB games, and was invited to do so Sunday according to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, he declined and he has not done it since becoming president. Trump and the first lady arrived shortly after Andrés threw the first pitch.
The Trumps departed before the top of the 8th inning.
At least one political opponent of Trump’s disagreed with the “lock him up” chants, which reference a call made by Trump supporters regarding Hillary Clinton that first began during the 2016 campaign.
“I’m enough of a sort of traditionalist about our institutions that even at a time when there is a lot that our President does that I find disturbing, offensive, unconventional, I have a hard time with the idea of a crowd on a globally televised sporting event chanting ‘lock him up’ about our President,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
“I frankly think the office of the President deserves respect, even when the actions of our President at times don’t,” Coons said, adding that the chant “reminds me of things that happen in countries where rule of law is unknown or unestablished.”
The mixed response to Trump on Sunday night comes ahead of a week that’s sure to be politically challenging for the President as House Democrats press ahead with their impeachment inquiry.
Former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman is scheduled to appear at a hearing later Monday, though he has asked a federal judge if he is obligated to testify. Kupperman, a longtime associate of former national security adviser John Bolton, has drawn the interest of House investigators who believe he has first-hand knowledge of Trump’s decisions regarding Ukraine that have come under scrutiny as part of the impeachment probe.