First lady Jill Biden walked back her invitation to visit the White House to the University of Iowa women’s basketball team, which lost the NCAA championship game on Sunday, after facing criticism that the move was racist and disrespected the mostly black champions from Louisiana State.
Biden’s comments “were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes,” and she “looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House,” the first lady’s spokeswoman said Tuesday, seemingly shutting the door on Biden’s suggestion that both the winning and losing team be honored at the White House.
Biden said following Sunday’s championship game that she would “tell Joe” that “we’ll have the champions come to the White House” but that “Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game.”
The comment drew vitriol on social media from users who accused Biden of favoring the mostly white Iowa team over LSU by suggesting they be honored on the same stage. LSU player Angel Reese called the proposal “a joke.”
“Jill Biden inviting Iowa to the White House is a joke and it honestly feels like racism,” one Twitter user said. “Bigoted Bidens showing their true colors,” said another.
Democratic Louisiana congressman Troy Carter called out the first lady on Twitter, saying her idea would diminish the LSU Tigers’ achievement.
“With no disrespect to the outstanding players of the Iowa women’s team … they did not win,” Carter said, adding that the LSU women’s team should “enjoy this historic victory singularly.”