Harrison Butker Visits White House with Chiefs After Taking Aim at President Biden in Commencement Speech

The Kansas City kicker sparked outrage with comments he made during a graduation address at Benedictine College on May 11



Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker joined his teammates to celebrate their second consecutive Super Bowl win at the White House on Friday, May 31, just weeks after he criticized President Biden during a commencement speech he gave at Benedictine College.

There was speculation that the 28-year-old NFL player would attend the event after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to weigh in on Butker's attendance prior to the event.

"What I can say is we invite the entire team and we do that always – I don't have anything beyond that," Jean-Pierre told reporters before the Chiefs' visit during a White House press briefing on May 17. "It's an invitation that goes to the team, and so it's up to the team who comes and doesn't come."

<p>Tom Pennington/Getty</p> Harrison Butker, Isabelle Butker, and their baby after the Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game on January 19, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Tom Pennington/Getty

Harrison Butker, Isabelle Butker, and their baby after the Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game on January 19, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Butker stood solemnly in the back throughout the late afternoon ceremony, listening as the president honored the team. He even appeared to flash a quick smile as Biden joked about the Chiefs winning back-to-back Super Bowls — a reference to the upcoming presidential election.

Related: Petition Demanding the Chiefs Dismiss Harrison Butker Nears 150,000 Signature Goal

During his controversial graduation speech on May 11, Butker specifically attacked Biden's presidency and policies, saying: "Our own nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith, but at the same time is delusional enough to make the sign of the cross."

The NFL kicker's Benedictine College graduation address also included criticisms of working women, the LGBTQ+ community, and families who use surrogacy and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The mood of Friday's event, however, was celebratory. At one point, Biden was met with cheers from the team behind him as he donned his very own Kansas City Chiefs football helmet. Butker also appeared to laugh along with the team at the president's antics.

<p>Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty </p>

Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty

Most of the president's speech was light-hearted; however, the tone took a more solemn turn when the president took a moment to honor the victims of the Super Bowl parade mass shooting that took place back in March.

"This team is exceptional. As a country, we have to do more to stop the tragic shootings before they happen," the president remarked.

<p>The White House/Youtube</p>

The White House/Youtube

Continuing on, the president ended his address with a positive outlook on the future through sports: "Let me close with this. Last year, I talked about how, after winning the Super Bowl, many of these players came up to Coach Reid and asked what they could do to be better.

Even at the peak of their success, they were looking for ways to work harder, to dig deeper, to improve. And that is a powerful lesson about sports in the nation. We are a great nation because we are good people.

Related: Patrick Mahomes Says Harrison Butker Is a 'Good Person' But 'Said Certain Things I Don't Agree With'

We never give up. We look out for one another. We leave no one behind. That's America. I've been more optimistic about our future."

Butker looked on respectfully as Biden delivered his remarks. However, the kicker has never been one to shy away from sharing his opinions, even if unspoken. Last year, during the Chiefs' visit to the White House after winning the 2023 Super Bowl, Butker wore a tie with the words "Protect the Defenseless" written on it — a known anti-abortion phrase.

In the weeks following Butker's commencement speech, his Kansas City Chiefs teammates have taken steps to distance themselves from the rhetoric he shared in the address.

Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes alike came out with comments condemning Butker's words while also still affirming their love for him as a teammate.

<p> MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty</p> Joe Biden and the Kansas City Chiefs at the White House in 2023.


Joe Biden and the Kansas City Chiefs at the White House in 2023.

The Athletic reported on May 22 that Mahomes had said of Butker, “I judge him by the character he shows every day and that’s a good person," adding, "We’re not always going to agree. He said certain things I don’t agree with.”

For his part, on an episode of his podcast New Heights with brother Jason Kelce, Travis said that he cherishes Butker “as a teammate," though he maintains that Butker's views are "his own."

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