Jill Biden’s hope to invite losing team Iowa along with NCAA champion Louisiana State University (LSU) to the White House got dunked on by LSU star Angel Reese and others. The backlash prompted the first lady to apparently walk back her remarks on Tuesday. It seems only LSU will be asked to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, according to her press secretary.
But before that, critics were fuming over the first lady’s awkward attempt at goodwill in attempting to have both teams celebrate in Washington, D.C.
“A JOKE,” tweeted Reese, who was named the Final Four’s most outstanding player after guiding LSU to a 102-85 victory over Iowa in the women’s basketball final. (She also caused a stir by mimicking Iowa star Caitlin Clark’s “you can’t see me” gesture as the game ended.)
The first lady watched the game from the stands in Dallas and apparently was so moved by what she saw, she was pushing her husband, President Joe Biden, to reach out to Iowa as well.
“I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House, we always do. So, we hope LSU will come. But, you know, I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come, too, because they played such a good game,” Jill Biden said.
Many shared Reese’s disappointment with the first lady’s comment.
“No Ma’am!” former Clinton White House aide Keith Boykin wrote. “When Black women win a national championship, they should not be forced to share the stage with the losing team.”
“Whiteness is a helluva drug!” BET host and former HuffPost Live host Marc Lamont Hill wrote.
Reese also got a shoutout of support from ESPN star Stephen A. Smith.
A statement from Jill Biden’s press secretary early Tuesday followed the outcry, suggesting that only LSU will be guests of the president and first lady.
“Her comments ... were intended to applaud the historic game and all women athletes,” Vanessa Valdivia tweeted. “She looks forward to celebrating the LSU Tigers on their championship win at the White House.”
The president tweeted on Tuesday about the upcoming visit, minus mention of the losing team: “We can all learn a lot from watching these champions compete — and I look forward to welcoming them at each of their White House visits.”
Check out the initial reactions to Jill Biden’s remark about inviting both teams here: