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Angel Reese pushes back after Jill Biden suggests inviting LSU and runner-up Iowa to White House

"When Black women lead, folks start moving the goalpost & changing the rules," Rep. Cori Bush tweeted about Biden's suggestion. "We understand being courteous, but don’t do this."
Image: LSU  v Utah
LSU's Angel Reese in Greenville, S.C., on March 24.Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Louisiana State University's Angel Reese had two words for Jill Biden after the first lady suggested both the winners and the runners-up of the NCAA women's basketball championship visit the White House.

"A JOKE," Reese tweeted.

Biden attended the game Sunday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, where Reese and her team defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes, 102-85.

Biden congratulated both teams Monday during remarks to Colorado state lawmakers in Denver. Biden said the matchup was a "great game" and a product of the fight for Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex at colleges, ushering generations of female athletes since 1972.

She then spoke of inviting the two teams to the White House.

"I know we’ll have the champions come to the White House; we always do. So, we hope LSU will come — but, you know, I’m going to tell Joe I think Iowa should come too, because they played such a good game," she said.

Long before there could be an awkward Rose Garden meeting between rivals LSU and Iowa, Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder took her team out of the White House running.

"I gratefully acknowledge the First Lady’s sentiments, but a day at the White House should belong solely to the champion, LSU and Coach Mulkey," Bluder said in a statement Tuesday afternoon, praising the Tigers and their Hall of Fame coach, Kim Mulkey.

"We would welcome the First Lady and President to come to Iowa’s 'House' — Carver Hawkeye Arena — any time!"

Although Iowa lost by 17 points, Biden may have been referencing Hawkeye Caitlin Clark's record-breaking scoring. Clark, 21, scored the most points in a single NCAA basketball tournament — men's or women's — with 191 points. She was also the first player to have back-to-back 40-point games in NCAA tournament history.

LSU did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The first lady's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about her remarks.

Vanessa Valdivia, the first lady’s press secretary, tweeted early Tuesday that Biden enjoyed the tournament and seeing the progress of female athletes. It was not immediately clear which teams would be invited to the White House.

After Biden's remarks Monday, others tweeted sharing Reese's annoyance.

"Hey @Reese10Angel, I mean absolutely zero disrespect to the First Lady, but you are 1000% correct," sports commentator Stephen A. Smith tweeted. "That is a bad suggestion. Runner-ups don’t get invited to the White House. Why are we trying to change it now? I completely agree with you, Angel."

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., asked in a tweet that the women of LSU, a predominantly Black team who defeated a predominantly white team, get their moment to shine.

"When Black women lead, folks start moving the goalpost & changing the rules. No. Iowa played a good game, but let the LSU players be celebrated as highly as other winning championship teams," Bush wrote. "We understand being courteous, but don’t do this."

Reecie Colbert, founder of BlackWomenViews Media, tweeted that LSU's treatment was a double standard.

"Now, since when did 2nd place get invited to the WH with the Champs? Come on now, this is the kind of easy to crystalize example of double standards that pisses Black people off. Don’t do it...." she wrote.

Others called the invitation to Iowa a "participation trophy" and suggested that LSU would not have been invited had Iowa won.

The double standard many pointed out appeared to be the second Reese has faced since winning the championship Sunday.

During the final game, Reese, 20, made a gesture at Clark, which many were quick to call "classless." The gesture, in which Reese put her hand in front of her face and then pointed to her ring finger to imply that her team would win the game, mimicked a gesture Clark had made during a prior game.

While Clark appeared to receive virtually no backlash, Reese was subjected to countless tweets about her demeanor. The word "classless" began trending Sunday following the game because of the influx of tweets.

Many, including NBA stars Shaquille O'Neal and LeBron James, rushed to Reese's defense, calling the backlash hypocritical and racist.