Trump left about 10 minutes after the start of the ceremony, at which he sang the national anthem and “God Bless America.”
At a press briefing shortly before the ceremony started, White House Pres Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders blasted the Philadelphia Eagles, saying “if this wasn’t a political event by the Eagles franchise, then they would not have planned to attend the event, then backed out at the last minute.”
“Let’s not forget there were 80 members who RSVP’d and committed to attend as recently as Friday, as well as over 1,000 fans. they Eagles are the ones who tried to change their commitment at the 11th hour,” she said.
In a statement the previous night, Trump said the Eagles players “disagree with their President because he insists they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart.”
We love our country. We respect our flag. And we always proudly stand for the National Anthem. We always will stand for the National Anthem,” Trump told the crowd on the White House lawn the next day, flanked by the United States Marine Bane and the United States Army Chorus for his latest edition of his culture war against the NFL.
I want to take this opportunity to explain why young Americans stand for our National Anthem. Maybe it’s about time that we understood,” Trump said of the occasion, though no members of the Eagles took a knee during the regular 2017 football season.
We stand to honor our military and to honor our country, and to remember the fallen heroes who never made it back home. We stand to show our love for our fellow citizens and our magnificent Constitution. We stand to pay tribute to the incredible Americans who came before us and the heroic sacrifices they made. America is a great nation — a community, a family. And America is our home, and we love our home.
Trump then began to celebrate himself:
“Our country has never done better than it’s doing right now. Never. Record numbers at every outpost. You take a look at what’s going on: Lowest unemployment numbers we’ve had. Lowest African American unemployment in the history of our country. Lowest Hispanic numbers in the history of our country. Lowest numbers for women in 21 years.”
“We’ve created $7 trillion of value in our country since the election. We’re the largest economy in the world, and getting a lot larger, and fast. It’s happened very quickly.”
“Actually, quicker than I even thought,” he simpered, adding that “all of those people that we honor, many of them are looking down right now – some of them are right here, but many of them are looking down right now at our country – and they are proud. They are very, very proud.”
“So we stand together for freedom. We stand together for patriotism. And we proudly stand for our glorious nation under God,” Trump concluded, telling attendees “to be honest” they were a bigger crowd then “we had anticipated.”