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Barletta, Casey on separate sides after Trump cancels Eagles' visit

Written by The Associated Press | Jun 5, 2018 1:44 PM
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FILE PHOTO: Philadelphia Eagles fan and fashion designer Nancy Volpe Beringer places a small dressmaker's form with an outfit she says she made and would like to give Eagles' Nick Foles daughter, Lily, on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Wednesday Feb. 7, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

(Harrisburg) -- Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania planned to attend a White House ceremony Tuesday without the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles after President Donald Trump canceled their visit, but Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said he would skip it and invited the Eagles to visit Capitol Hill instead.

Barletta, who is challenging Casey's re-election bid in November, said he would be at the White House "representing the proud Pennsylvanians who stand for our flag." However, none of the Eagles kneeled during the anthem in 2017.

Trump said he would hold a different White House ceremony to honor veterans and the nation. Casey called it a "political stunt" and said he's proud of what the Eagles accomplished. In a Twitter message, Casey offered the Eagles a tour of the Capitol.

Pennsylvania's Republican candidate for governor, Scott Wagner, a Trump supporter, took a middle road.

"Scott believes it's unfortunate that politics have invaded everything we do and thinks we should be able to put political differences aside long enough to celebrate a team winning the Super Bowl," his campaign said.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, a persistent Trump critic, said through his office that "no amount of political silliness in Washington will damper our enthusiasm or take away the victory for the Eagles or their fans."

Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, an Eagles fan from suburban Philadelphia, said on Twitter that Trump had handled the matter poorly and that he would not go to the White House.

"This is a depressing commentary on our political culture, very deflating to me," Costello wrote.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Harrisburg) --  Republican midstate Congressman Lou Barletta plans to attend a White House ceremony without the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles after President Donald Trump canceled their visit.

But, Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey is skipping it.

Barletta, who's challenging Casey's re-election bid in November, said he'll be at the White House today "representing the proud Pennsylvanians who stand for our flag."

None of the Eagles kneeled during the anthem in 2017.

Trump says he'll hold a ceremony to honor veterans and the nation instead.

It was unclear exactly what prompted the change of plans. The White House did not immediately respond to questions about what had sparked the decision and why the circumstances were different from other events honoring winning teams, which some players have boycotted.

One of the people set to attend the ceremony told The Associated Press less than half of the team's 53-man roster planned to go. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the decision.

Casey calls Trump's alternative event a "political stunt" and says he's proud of the Eagles accomplishments.

He invited the Eagles to visit Capitol Hill.

Meantime, Fox News is apologizing for airing footage that wrongly suggested Eagles players knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

Christopher Wallace, executive producer of "Fox News @ Night," says in a statement that during the show's report about President Donald Trump canceling the Eagles' visit  to the White House to celebrate the team's Super Bowl win, the show displayed "unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer."

He says, "To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout regular or post-season last year," adding: "We apologize for the error."

Below is the latest White House statement on the decision:

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