“I’ve been every time for every president,” Mulkey told The Associated Press on Wednesday night, speaking of her team’s 2005 and 2012 NCAA championships. “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 [the] Virginia men go and I can meet [coach] 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.”
Now, they have to get the invitation and that might be another matter. The past two WNBA champions, the Minnesota Lynx in 2017 and the Seattle Storm in 2018, were not invited and no women’s championship team has made a solo visit, although several women’s teams participated in a November 2017 event in which Trump celebrated a number of men’s and women’s college champions in nonrevenue sports. Notre Dame, the 2018 women’s basketball champion, was not invited; South Carolina’s 2017 women’s basketball champion, was invited to the mass event, but turned down the invitation. Although coach Dawn Staley had said after winning the title that the team would accept an invitation, she had expressed irritation that the White House’s delayed invitation.
Congratulations to the Baylor Lady Bears on their amazing win last night against Notre Dame to become the 2019 NCAA Women’s Basketball National Champions! https://t.co/cogqxFgnRn
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2019
“Where are the women’s teams?” USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, who has written extensively about women’s sports, said in a recent interview with The Post’s David Nakamura. “To me this is just a huge step backward and shows he’s completely out of touch with how the nation views women’s sports.”
Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama regularly invited women’s teams to the White House and every women’s college basketball champion since 1983 had been invited before Trump took office.
“It’s hard not to think that gender is playing a role here,” Lynx coach-general manager Cheryl Reeve told The Post last year.
Baylor beat Notre Dame in an 82-81 thriller on Sunday and the White House has not yet responded to a request about its plans. But Trump took note of the game Sunday.