President Donald Trump is expected to be in Tuscaloosa on Saturday for No. 2 Alabama’s critical matchup against No. 1 LSU, marking the latest sporting event for Trump in recent weeks.
Though he’s met plenty before, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban sounded excited about hosting a president at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“It’s an honor, I think, that the President of the United States would be interested enough to come to the game,” Saban said, via the Montgomery Advertiser. “I’m sure we’ll do everything we can to welcome him.”
Saban has plenty of experience with presidents, having made the trip to the White House multiple times after winning national titles — when Trump, President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush were in office. He also had a run-in with President Bill Clinton while he was at Michigan State, and even offered up his office couch.
“Bill Clinton came to Michigan State to speak at the graduation commencement ceremony, and they actually headquartered in our facility building, so I had the opportunity to meet him and talk to him,” Saban said, via the Advertiser. “[At one point], the Secret Service guys came and got my couch and asked if they could take it to his office so he could take a nap, and I said, ‘Certainly.’”
Trump’s recent string of sporting events
The game will mark Trump’s third appearance at a major sporting event in as many weeks. He attended Game 5 of the World Series at Nationals Park last month, and was met with a loud chorus of boos, a “lock him up” chant and even a pro-impeachment banner. Trump then made the trip to UFC 244 on Saturday — becoming the first sitting or former president to attend an MMA bout — and received a mixed reaction from the crowd at Madison Square Garden.
29 PHOTOSNick Saban through his careerSee GalleryNick Saban through his careerLouisiana State University head coach Nick Saban celebrates as his players hold the national championship trophy after the Tigers’ 21-14 win over the University of Oklahoma in the Nokia Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, January 4, 2004. REUTERS/Marc SerotaJLSThe Miami Dolphins’ new coach Nick Saban talks during a press conference at the Dolphins training center in Davie, Florida, January 4, 2005. Saban is one of the most successful collegiate coaches over last five years. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaCB/SVMiami Dolphins new head coach Nick Saban watches his team run drills on the first day of camp in Davie, Florida, July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Marc SerotaMS/LAMiami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban argues a call during a game against the Atlanta Falcons in Miami, Florida, November 6, 2005. Atlanta defeated Miami 17-10. REUTERS/Marc SerotaMiami Dolphins coach Nick Saban argues a call against the New England Patriots in Miami, Florida November 13, 2005.The Patriots defeated the Dolphins 23-16.REUTERS/Marc SerotaMiami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban (C) watches as Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (R) intercepts a pass meant for Miami receiver Chris Chamber (84) in the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 7, 2006. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES)University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban takes the field as he returns to Tiger Stadium to take on Louisiana State University during their NCAA football game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana November 8, 2008.Saban is the former head coach of LSU. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES)University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban poses with Heisman Memorial Trophy award winner running back Mark Ingram (R) at a news conference in New York December 12, 2009. REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly(UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)Alabama coach Nick Saban throws during team practice for the BCS Championship NCAA college football game in Costa Mesa, California January 4, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban directs his team against the LSU Tigers during the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in New Orleans, January 9, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES- Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (C) watches Josh Chapman hold up the trophy after their team defeated the LSU Tigers during the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 9, 2012.REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES- Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban points upwards after his team defeated the Georgia Bulldogs during the NCAA SEC college football championship in Atlanta, Georgia, December 1, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban speaks during media day for the 2013 BCS National Championship NCAA football game in Miami, Florida January 5, 2013.REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES- Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)University of Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban stands next to the Coaches’ Trophy after his team beat Notre Dame in the NCAA college football 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game during a news conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida January 8, 2013. This is Saban’s fourth title and third at Alabama.REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on the field prior to the 2015 Sugar Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsDec 5, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban celebrates with his team after winning the 2015 SEC Championship Game against the Florida Gators at the Georgia Dome. Alabama won 29-15. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsJan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry (2) dunks head coach Nick Saban with Gatorade after the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Alabama won 45-40. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsMar 2, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; President Barack Obama holds an honorary game ball presented by Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban (left) during a ceremony honoring the 2015 national champion Crimson Tide in the East Room at the White House. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images (TAGS: Sport American Football NCAA) *** Local Caption *** 2016-03-02T220115Z_870359777_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_NCAA-FOOTBALL-ALABAMA-WHITE-HOUSE-VISIT.JPGNov 4, 2017; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban holds up two fingers on the field against the LSU Tigers during the forth quarter quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY SportsJan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban after the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsNov 4, 2017; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban holds up two fingers on the field against the LSU Tigers during the forth quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY SportsNov 25, 2017; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban greets Bo Jackson (left) before the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsJan 1, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts during the fourth quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2018 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsJan 1, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban wears a hat backwards as he talks to quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) after the game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2018 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsJan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts after beating the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 CFP national championship college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY SportsJan 9, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks to media after wining the National Championship during a press conference at the Sheraton Downtown hotel. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY SportsCOLLEGE STATION, TX – OCTOBER 07: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field on October 7, 2017 in College Station, Texas.(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)NASHVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 23:Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs onto the field with his team prior to a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)NASHVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 23: Alabama head coach Nick Saban arrives at the stadium before a college football game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Alabama Crimson Tide on September 23, 2017 at Commodore Stadium in Nashville, TN. (Photo by Jamie Gilliam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)Up Next
It’s unclear what reaction he’ll receive on Saturday, though the Alabama Student Government Association issued a warning to students on Wednesday in a letter. Any students or organizations that “engage in disruptive behavior” during the game, the letter said, will be “removed from block seating instantly for the remainder of the season.”
The student government later sent out another letter after backlash from the first, claiming the initial warning had “nothing to do with anyone’s First Amendment rights.”
Either way, neither Saban nor LSU quarterback Joe Burrow seem concerned about a potential sideshow or hosting a president in the midst of an impeachment inquiry.
“Regardless of your political views, that’s pretty cool having the president at the game,” Burrow said Monday, via the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. “Doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, the president at the game’s pretty cool.”
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