President Donald Trump emerged from the tunnel in the south end zone as the public address announcer intoned: “Ladies and gentlemen, the 45th president of the United States...”
An audience of approximately 9,000 at Michie Stadium erupted with a standing ovation. Trump stopped in the Army end zone and waved in all directions as the crowd chanted “USA, USA, USA.”
Of course, the rousing reception was no surprise considering all the fans in the stands call the president commander-in-chief.
[ A timeline of the Army-Navy game 2020 ]
Trump attended Saturday’s 121st Army-Navy game, marking the third straight year he has done so as sitting president. Trump also attended the 2016 Army-Navy game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore as president-elect.
Michie Stadium on the campus of West Point hosted the Army-Navy game for the first time since 1943 as a pandemic accomplished what only World War II was previously able to do. Saturday Army shut out Navy 15-0 for the first time since 1969.
Trump arrived at Michie Stadium about a half hour before the 3 p.m. kickoff with a massive motorcade stopping just short of the Kimsey Athletic Center. Trump strode briskly into the building that houses all the Army football offices and other facilities.
Unlike last year when he attended the Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field, Trump did not visit the Army and Navy locker rooms to offer some words of encouragement.
President Trump entered the field along with the superintendents of the two service academies — Army General Darryl A. Williams and Navy Vice Admiral Sean Buck. He was joined on the field by Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy and Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite.
Trump stood at attention and saluted as members of the Naval Academy and Army West Point glee clubs sang the national anthem.
Trump presided over the pregame coin flip with Navy captain Cameron Kinley calling tails. Tails it was when the side of the coin that featured a replica of Michie Stadium landed face up.
Trump sat in the stands along with the Corps of Cadets in the first half and was not wearing a mask. However, he later donned a mask while taking photos with cadets.
Traditionally, the president changes sides at halftime as an outward show of neutrality in the contest. However, Trump left the game during the second quarter and therfore did not cross the field to sit among members of the Brigade of Midshipmen.
Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to attend in 1901, taking a special train from Washington to Philadelphia for the game, which Army won 11-5. He attended again in 1905.
President Barack Obama attended the game in 2011 and President George W. Bush attended in 2001, 2004 and 2008.
President-elect Joe Biden attended the game while serving as vice president in 2011 with Obama and again the next year, when he presented the Commander in Chief’s Trophy to Navy after it stunned Army 17-13.