April 10 (UPI) — President Donald Trump met with the University of Alabama football team Tuesday at the White House.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and the team stood behind Trump during a proclamation he made for the 2017 national championship squad. Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 on Jan. 8 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. for the college football crown.
Trump lauded the overtime effort as “one of the most exciting finishes in college football history … or any sport.”
He attended the game and watched from a private box, before leaving at halftime.
“You all worked together, inspired each other, had each other’s backs and drove yourselves onward to one of the greatest victories ever,” Trump said. “You carry on a storied tradition of Alabama football excellence. It really is excellent. Coach, you’ll have to explain that. You could sell that secret and make a lot of money, you know that. You could only sell it.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was also in attendance on the south lawn during the visit.
“Not many people get invited to the White House,” Saban said. “Not many people get invited to see the president and meet the president. So, this is a special day for our team. A team that is being honored here because of their achievements, in terms of winning the college football national championship, which makes me very proud.”
The Alabama captains presented Trump with a No. 17 Crimson Tide jersey.
“In the national championship game, you stuck to ‘The Process,’ even when it was looking pretty tough,” Trump said. “I was watching. I said, ‘Coach, not looking too good.’ Down 13-to-nothing at halftime to a great Georgia team, these champions fought back as they did all season long. And they kept fighting and fighting.”
Saban has six national titles as a college football coach, including five with the Crimson Tide. He previously took his teams to meet George W. Bush and Barack Obama.