Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he will not attend a White House event Thursday celebrating his team’s 2018 World Series win, citing the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Cora, who was born and raised in the U.S. island territory, told Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día on Sunday that he doesn’t “feel comfortable” celebrating at the White House when so many back home are still struggling.
“Even though the United States government has helped, there’s still a long road ahead,” Cora told the paper, according to a translated version of the story. “That is OUR reality. I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten and my absence [from the White House] is no different.”
Puerto Rico is still recovering after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September 2017, leaving millions without power for months. The storm and its brutal aftermath claimed nearly 3,000 lives, according to a study from George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.
Despite Hurricane Maria’s status as one of the deadliest natural disasters on record, President Donald Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency failed to treat it as such and were slow to allocate aid, according to some Puerto Rican officials and Democratic lawmakers. Trump has ridiculed the crisis and personally attacked Puerto Rico leaders who complained.
“The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go,” Cora told The Associated Press on Sunday, following his team’s 9-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. “That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at.”
Several Red Sox players, including David Price, Hector Velazquez and Xander Bogaerts, also have said they will skip the White House event.
The Red Sox organization fully supports “everyone’s personal decisions” regarding the White House celebration, a team spokesman said.
“We are grateful to our ownership group for creating a culture where we discuss these issues openly, and encourage individual decision making,” the spokesman told HuffPost in a statement. “We also appreciate Alex for talking openly with our team and supporting those who are looking forward to being honored on Thursday.”
The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
This article has been updated with comment from a Red Sox spokesman.