Ace Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle will not take part in the Nats' White House visit with President Trump on Monday--in part because of the experience of his wife’s grandfather who fled the Irish Civil War in the 1920s as a child after his family had to leave.
His wife Eireann (Gaelic word for Ireland) Dolan is a committed activist who along with her husband is strongly critical of President Trump, especially
how he has treated refugees.
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Dolan recounts her grandfather’s story, fleeing the Irish War of Independence and arriving as essentially a refugee from violence in America as the cornerstone reason for her concerns for immigrants and refugees.
Dolan, who attends Fordham University married Doolittle last year and the couple quickly became famous for their involvement in issues such as LGBT rights, refugees and mental illness.
Doolittle who saved the Nat’s victory in game one has cited his wife's Irish grandfather as one of the reasons for his activism.
Eireann Dolan has written that “My grandfather James Dolan’s family left County Cavan in the north of Ireland, which had been home to many of the battles." She explained that “Many civilians died in what was considered an active rebellion against our own ally Great Britain.” Her grandfather’s family was in danger and had to leave.
She wrote: “When they came to this country, it would have been very easy for them to be mistaken for those who would wish to commit terrorist activities when all they really wanted to do was to give their children a better life free from war and poverty.
“My grandparents and great-grandparents were very poor, they were very tired, and as far as I could tell, they were lifelong huddlers. They probably would not have appreciated being called wretched refuse, but surely they’d been called worse.
“They settled in Chicago. They were met with distrust, animosity, and scorn,” she said -- like many of the new immigrants today.
Doolitle was especially angered when Trump took aim at a disabled New York Times reporter.
“I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked, or the way that he moves his hands? I can’t get past that stuff."
Doolittle told the Washington Post Trump's nasty rhetoric bothered him deeply.
“It has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘shithole countries.
“At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it,” Doolittle continued. “I just can’t do it.”
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“I feel very strongly about his issues on race relations,” Doolittle said, and he listed the Fair Housing Act, the Central Park Five and Trump’s comments following a white supremacist rally in 2017. He also mentioned that his wife, Eireann Dolan, has two mothers who are very involved in the LGBTQ community.
“I want to show support for them. I think that’s an important part of allyship, and I don’t want to turn my back on them,” Doolittle said.