WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama welcomed the Chicago Cubs to the White House on Monday to celebrate their World Series win and speak to the power of sports to unite a divided nation.
“Throughout our history, sports has had this power to bring us together even when the country is divided,” Obama said in honoring his hometown team.
The ceremony came four days before Obama hands the presidency over to Donald Trump following one of the most divisive elections in recent memory.
It also follows a weekend in which civil rights icon John Lewis said he didn’t consider Trump a legitimate president because of Russian meddling in the election. Trump responded on Twitter by criticizing Lewis as “all talk” and suggesting the Democratic congressman take better care of his Georgia district.
The president has a home in Chicago, but he is a White Sox fan. He rooted for the Cubs after the Sox failed to reach the playoffs.
The Cubs gave Obama a baseball jersey with the number 44, a fitting gift for the nation’s 44th president.
Obama invited the Cubs hours after they won the series in November, asking on Twitter if the team wanted to visit before his term ends on Friday.
The Cubs won their first World Series title since 1908 by defeating the Cleveland Indians.