'Kurt Suzuki' Trends After Donald Trump Awkwardly Hugs MAGA Hat-Wearing Nationals Player at White House

Kurt Suzuki and Trump
Catcher Kurt Suzuki wears a "Make America Great Again" hat as he is embraced by U.S. President Donald Trump as he welcomes the 2019 World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals, to the White House November 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. Getty/Win McNamee

"Kurt Suzuki" began trending in the United States on Monday afternoon after a video of President Donald Trump giving the Washington Nationals catcher a hug from behind—striking a pose reminiscent of the famous "I'm the king of the world!" scene from 1997's Titanic—was shared on social media.

Just Donald Trump & Kurt Suzuki cosplaying MAGA Titanic pic.twitter.com/OccHHnvR91

— Adam Blickstein (@AdamBlickstein) November 4, 2019

The 36-year-old professional baseball player and his teammates were invited to visit the White House to celebrate their victory in the 2019 World Series, the annual Major League Baseball championship.

It is customary for the president to invite championship-winning sports teams to the White House, a tradition that can be traced at least as far back as 1924 and possibly to 1865, according to Rolling Stone. Such invitations have taken on a political dimension under the Trump administration, however, with many teams and star players declining the honor.

This year, as in previous years, some players from the winning team declined the president's invitation in protest. Relief pitcher Sean Doolittle, the first Nationals player to publicly demur at the president's invitation, told The Washington Post that he would not attend the ceremony today because of Trump's "divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country."

But Suzuki, had no problem accepting Trump's invitation and showing appreciation for the president.

In his speech at the White House on Monday praising the Nationals for their performance and sportsmanship, Trump mentioned an "amazing three-run homer by Kurt Suzuki." He then called the 36-year-old player to the podium.

Suzuki appeared on cue, donning a red ball cap emblazoned with Trump's motto, "Make America Great Again"—an article of clothing emblematic of Trump's supporters since his 2016 campaign—and raised both of his hands triumphantly.

The president appeared surprised by Suzuki's show of support, and gave him a hug from behind.

"I love him!" Trump exclaimed as he gave the ball player what ABC News called an "awkward" embrace.

I love you all. Thank you Mr. President," Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki says, putting on a “Make America Great Again” hat and prompting an awkward hug from Pres. Trump. https://t.co/35Zg7cQ9nU pic.twitter.com/3wmyPJdrAM

— ABC News (@ABC) November 4, 2019
Twitter

"I love you. I love you all, thank you. Thank you, Mr. President," Suzuki said.

"What a job he did," Trump said, after the two men shook hands and Suzuki left the podium. "I didn't know that was going to happen."

The president received a very different response when he attended Game 5 of the World Series with the first lady last week.

On Twitter, some users responded positively to Suzuki's gesture, while others mocked him for his apparent support of Trump and joked that the president's hug resembled fondling of a sexual nature.

Nationals' Kurt Suzuki gets weird, reach-around hug from Donald Trump https://t.co/ptTdoCS4IJ pic.twitter.com/NchnXzlZaU

— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) November 4, 2019

Just to be clear, @JanetJackson first did it decades ago ... #kurtsuzuki pic.twitter.com/Wjl1VWcRjg

— Jeff Pearlman (@jeffpearlman) November 4, 2019

The Daily Wire, tweeted that the internet should prepare for an incoming "cancel campaign" intended to label Suzuki persona non grata.

Hear that sound?

That’s thousands of keyboard warriors pressing caps lock in preparation for yet another cancel campaign.

Kurt Suzuki doesn’t seem to care tho. pic.twitter.com/bZEpUmiDs1

— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) November 4, 2019
Twitter

Artist Tony Posnanski wrote that Suzuki "went full Curt Schilling," referring to another baseball player who was met with some criticism for openly supporting Trump.

Kurt Suzuki went full Curt Schilling today.

— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) November 4, 2019
Twitter

Suzuki, perhaps in anticipation of negative backlash for his gesture, had made his Twitter account private as of 4 p.m. EST on Monday.