Baylor accepts invitation to celebrate national championship with Donald Trump at White House

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Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, in blue, and players raise part of the NCAA/WBCA coaches' trophy after Baylor defeated Notre Dame 82-81 in the Final Four championship game of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Sunday, April 7, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Baylor will celebrate its national championship with President Donald Trump at the White House next week, marking the first women's basketball team to do so during his presidency. (AP/John Raoux)

Kim Mulkey and the Baylor women’s basketball team have accepted an invitation to celebrate their national championship at the White House, the school announced on Wednesday.

Baylor — who beat Notre Dame 82-81 to win the national championship in Tampa, Florida, earlier this month — will make the customary trek to Washington on Monday. The team will also meet with President Donald Trump, marking the first time in his presidency that a women’s basketball team has done so after winning a championship.

While traditionally both professional and collegiate teams are invited to celebrate with the President at the White House after winning a championship, that has not always been the case with the Trump administration. Several teams have either not been invited at all or simply declined to go.

Mulkey said earlier this month that she would welcome a visit to the White House, and that the trip has nothing to do with politics. The coach visited the White House after winning her first two national championships at Baylor, once with President George W. Bush in 2005 and again with President Barack Obama in 2012.

“I’ve been every time for every president,” Mulkey said. “It’s not a political issue for me. It’s an honor to go to the White House. I want everyone to say they went to the White House. Not many people can say that. I hope Virginia men go and I can meet Tony Bennett.

“We were honored when President Bush was in the office. We were honored when Barack Obama was in the office. We’d be honored if Donald Trump invited us. With politics aside, we should go to say we went to the White House.”

Neither South Carolina nor Notre Dame — who won the past two years, respectively — made the trip after winning their national championships. The Minnesota Lynx did not receive an invitation after winning the 2017 WNBA Finals, and the Seattle Storm made it clear they had no interest in visiting Trump after winning the WNBA title last year.

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