Karine Jean-Pierre Addresses White House Invite Status For Chiefs' Harrison Butker

The White House press secretary cannot confirm or deny that Harrison Butker will soon meet with the president.

Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday was asked if the Kansas City Chiefs kicker, whose team is set to celebrate its recent Super Bowl win with a trip to Washington, is still invited to the White House after he delivered a bigoted commencement speech at Benedictine College in Kansas.

“What I can say is all of the team, per usual when there is a championship team, gets invited,” Jean-Pierre told a CNN reporter. “I don’t have anything to add on their attendance or how that looks, but the team is always invited. Everyone on the team is invited.”

Indeed, the tradition of invitingsports teams to the White House dates back more than 150 years. But some observers wondered if Butker would still be allowed to visit after he directly insulted President Joe Biden and his policies in last week’s commencement speech.

The NFL star not only claimed that Biden supports “the murder of innocent babies” and railed against abortion rights, but suggested that women should prioritize motherhood over careers. He also made reference to the “tyranny” of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Butker quickly received pushback from the likes of rapper Flavor Flav and “Today” show host Hoda Kotb, as well as fans of singer Taylor Swift, whom Butker referred to only as “my teammate’s girlfriend.”

The NFL spoke out against his comments, too.

Harrison Butker and his team won the Super Bowl earlier this year.
Harrison Butker and his team won the Super Bowl earlier this year. Luke Hales/Getty Images

“His views are not those of the NFL as an organization,” Jonathan Beane, the league’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, told multiple outlets this week. “The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

Since Andrew Johnson first invited baseball clubs to the White House in 1865, various presidents have hosted athletes in Washington, including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

When asked specifically about Butker, however, Jean-Pierre suggested that the Chiefs would make the decision about his attendance.

“What I can say is we invite the entire team, and we do that always,” Jean-Pierre told CNN. “I don’t have anything beyond that. … We invite the team. It’s an invitation that goes to the team, and so it’s up to the team who comes and who doesn’t come.”