Associated Press File Photo / During the World Champion Washington Nationals' trip to the White House Monday, catcher Kurt Suzuki donned a hat similar to these, which are emblazoned with the words "Make America Great America Great Again," President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign slogan.

This story was updated at 5:59 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2019, to clarify that most Washington Nationals' hats have a curly "W" on them, not an "N".

One minute a member of the World Series champion Washington Nationals. The next minute the most hated man in America.

That's Kurt Suzuki.

The Washington catcher had the temerity to don a red cap at the White House ceremony honoring the Nationals as baseball's best Monday. Only the red hat didn't have the Nationals' traditional curly "W" on it. Instead, it displayed President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again" (MAGA).

"It was amazing," Suzuki told USA Today in a text message. "That was the president. Just trying to have some fun."

That was the way it used to be. Teams who won national college or professional championships were invited to the White House, met the president and got to yuck it up with one of the most powerful men in the world. It was a big deal.

Now with Trump the object of such unmitigated hate by so many people still stunned as his upset win in the 2016 presidential election, entire teams don't come to the White House. Or individuals on the teams don't choose to attend.

Fair enough.

But why criticize those teams who do, or individuals who want to have a little fun in what is likely the only moment in their lives in which they'll rub shoulders with a president of the United States?

Why are so many insecure in their own beliefs that they must find fault with someone else who takes part in something they don't like?

Welcome to America, 2019.

"If he wore a swastika hat," tweeted the left-wing political blog Palmer Report, "he'd get banned from baseball — and a MAGA hat is no different."

The tweet, proving the writer understands little about what it was like in Nazi Germany, was quickly deleted.

"They will never love you, Kurt Suzuki," tweeted New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali. "They will never love you. Enjoy the hug [from Trump] and the delusion. Whatever makes you feel great."

"Pathetic," former CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien termed the decision to put on the hat.

Had the Nationals not been invited to the White House, Trump would have been excoriated for ignoring the city's first World Series appearance since 1933 and its first baseball world championship since 1924.

But he offered, and the team accepted. Seven players chose not to attend. Fair enough.

Trump, evidently, was caught off guard by Suzuki's plan to put on the hat.

"I love him," the president said in the background as the catcher stepped up to the microphone. And after Suzuki spoke briefly, the president gave the Hawaiian-born player a brief bear hug.

"What a job he did ... ," Trump later remarked to the crowd of some 5,300 people, "I didn't know that was going to happen."

But Trump haters went crazy.

"Kurt Suzuki is officially canceled," a Twitter user wrote.

"Kurt Suzuki I feel sick and sad," another said. "As a longtime A's fan, I proudly wore your hat. Never again! I rooted for the Nationals in hopes you would get a ring. My mistake. MAGA pres is criminal-that's how you'll be remembered."

"How utterly absurd, Suzuki," a third said. "MAGA translates to targeted, bigoted hate."

As usually occurs in such ceremonies, the president was presented an honorary No. 45 Washington jersey — by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

"This is an incredible honor I'd like to think none of us will ever forget," the longtime Nationals star said, probably gaining his own set of enemies. "We'd also like to thank you for keeping everyone here safe in our country and continuing to make America the greatest country to live in the world."

Suzuki, who had two excellent seasons platooning at catcher for the Atlanta Braves before signing with Washington for the 2019 season, brushed off the criticism without returning the enmity with which it was delivered.

"Everybody makes everything political," he told USA Today. "It was about our team winning the World Series."

An anti-Trump tweeter who said he or she would be voting Democratic in 2020 put it in perspective.

"[T]he amount of people offended and angry because Kurt Suzuki put on a MAGA hat is ridiculous," the individual wrote. "Is there anything people aren't offended by in [today's] culture? Jeesh. Every move you make today has a chance of offending someone."

Suzuki is signed with the Nationals through the 2020 season. The MAGA hat will be forgotten with his first game-winning hit next year. The haters, sadly, promise to be around at least until the November election.