President Biden’s Atlanta Braves invitation to the White House draws GOP ire

Republicans criticize Dems over pulling MLB All-Star game from Truist Park over voter registration laws
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 11:57 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 11:58 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - President Joe Biden’s invitation to the Atlanta Braves to visit the White House next week is drawing ire from Republicans.

Biden is hosting the 2021 World Series champion at the White House on Monday, the same time the Braves are visiting the Washington Nationals for the last time this season.

Republicans point to Biden’s and Democrats’ support in moving the 2021 MLB All-Star Game from Truist Park in protest over Georgia’s then-new voter registration laws, a move Republicans said cost Georgia $100 million in lost revenue.

The decision to move the All-Star Game was made by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

“There’s no escaping the fact that Joe Biden’s lies cost Georgians,” said Republican National Committee spokesperson Garrison Douglas. “Biden’s lies about Georgia’s election integrity law were so egregious, The Washington Post gave him ‘Four Pinocchios.’”

Douglas also said Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams was given “Two Pinocchios.” U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is in a close reelection battle with GOP challenger Herschel Walker, also said he “respect[ed]” MLB’s decision to pull the game from Georgia.

RELATED: Two Georgia reps say MLB commissioner should make amends over 2021 All-Star game

Earlier this year, U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter and Barry Loudermilk wrote a letter to Manfred, asking him how “MLB will redress the harm caused to the state of Georgia by moving the 2021 MLB All-Star Game out of Georgia in reaction to baseless attacks on the state’s Election Integrity Act.”

“According to Georgia’s Secretary of State, more than 850,000 Georgians cast a ballot in person or returned an absentee ballot,” Carter and Loudermilk wrote. “Compared to early-voting turnout in recent primaries, this voter turnout represented a 168% increase over the 2018 election, which was the last gubernatorial primary.”

Carter represents much of south and coastal Georgia’s 1st district, including Savannah, while Loudermilk’s 11th district includes much of metro Atlanta’s northern suburbs, including Marietta and Smyrna.

“It is estimated that moving the game from the state cost local businesses, many of which are minority-owned businesses and faced significant hardship recovering from the pandemic, more than $100 million,” the congressmen wrote. “While we are pleased that the Atlanta Braves ultimately overcame this politicization and claimed the 2021 World Series, we are saddened that MLB fell victim to the lies spread about what our state law truly does and were bullied into moving the All-Star game out of Georgia.

“Any voter suppression claims have been thoroughly debunked, yet your organization has failed to take any responsibility for the damage your mischaracterizations caused.”

Manfred announced the 2021 All-Star Game would be held in Denver instead of Atlanta. It also moved its 2021 draft out of the city, according to CBS News, two days after Biden endorsed moving the game out of Atlanta in an interview with ESPN.

“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly. I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They’re leaders,” Biden said.

Biden, according to the Associated Press, is getting in the Sept. 26 visit with just about a week before the 2022 regular season wraps up and playoffs begin. The Braves beat the Houston Astros in six games last year and are currently in a close battle with the New York Mets for the National League East pennant.

MLB’s post-season begins Oct. 7.