Army-Navy Game Features Stunning National Anthem Rendition

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
December 9, 2018US News

President Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis attended the annual Army-Navy college football game on Dec. 8.

The teams have played 119 games against each other. An American president is occasionally on hand to watch the game, view the national anthem, and partake in the coin toss.

CBS also broadcast the national anthem during the game, which was sung by Navy and Army members.

Trump went on the field before a large crowd at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, and the audience was mainly composed of Navy and West Point midshipmen, the Daily Caller noted.

The crowd cheered when Trump went onto the field. Trump was also involved in the coin toss.

President Donald Trump, (2nd L), is joined by, West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams (L), Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (2nd R), and Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter (R), during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the Army-Navy NCAA college football game in Philadelphia, on Dec. 8, 2018. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

“It was my honor to attend today’s #ArmyNavyGame in Philadelphia. A GREAT game played all around by our HEROES. Congratulations @ArmyWP_Football on the win,” he tweeted.

Trump and Mattis were joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, and Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, according to the White House.

Before the game, Air Force One did a fly-by at Lincoln Financial Field, CNN reported.

Trump’s appearance at the annual game comes as he announced that his chief of staff, John Kelly, would be leaving his position at the end of 2018.

“John Kelly will be leaving, retiring. I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring,’” Trump told reporters before leaving for the Army-Navy football game. “But he’s a great guy. John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year.”

Trump said that he “appreciate[s] his service very much.”

“I mean, there’s no great secret. A lot of administrations make changes after midterms. I will say that, for the most part, I’m very, very happy with this Cabinet,” Trump said when asked about the chief of staff. Kelly was tapped for the position last year after Reince Priebus departed.

“It’s a very exhausting job,” the president said of the chief of staff role. “They start off, they’re young people, they’re there for two years, and they’re old by the time they leave.”

Army Beats Navy Again

Army coach Jeff Monken hopped on top of a wall and pumped his fist toward stoked cadets set to belt out the alma mater. Monken brought the party to the locker room and waved an “Army Football” flag as the Black Knights bounced around him, according to The Associated Press.

Army ditched its mundane routines and cut loose like a bunch of rowdy civilians. And why not? The setting was right after Army beat Navy for the third straight game, this time in front of a packed house and the president.

“I don’t ever want our guys to stop celebrating,” Monken said. “I promise you, I’ll be celebrating every year if we win this thing because I know how hard it is.”

President Donald Trump meets with Navy player Anthony Gargiulo ahead of an NCAA college football game between Army and Navy, Dec. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Monken resuscitated the Black Knights and turned a program that suffered annual losses to the Midshipmen into a bowl-bound team that can keep the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy back at West Point.

The No. 22 Black Knights recovered two fumbles in the fourth quarter, Kelvin Hopkins Jr. had two rushing touchdowns and Army beat Navy 17-10 on Saturday to win its third straight game in the series.

With Navy down 10-7, quarterback Zach Abey lost a fumble on fourth-and-12 deep in Navy territory. Hopkins would score on a 1-yard run to make it 17-7 and give Army the cushion it needed to win in front of 66,729 fans at Lincoln Financial Field.

Army hopped and waved hands in celebration during a replay timeout and got the cadets in the stands to bounce along. They had good reason to celebrate: Army has regained its grip in a series that had gotten out of hand. Navy had a series-best 14-game winning streak from 2002 to 2015 and leads the series 60-52-7.

President Donald Trump tosses the coin before the Army-Navy NCAA college football game, on  Dec. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

“It’s been hard on all of us. Our players, our coaches, our staff, our school,” coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “We like to win. We’ve been winning a lot of games. Losing sucks.”

Trump sat on the Army side in the first half and crossed the field to the Navy side at halftime. Trump officiated the coin toss and was introduced by public address announcer Dan Baker to a cheering crowd.

There were reminders all around the Linc, home of the Super Bowl champion Eagles, that this was no ordinary game. The Navy “Leap Frogs” parachute team earned a roar from the crowd with each safe landing on the field. Bill the Goat, Navy’s mascot, was safely leashed and secured from a possible abduction attempt from overzealous cadets. And each side safely returned “captives” in the Prisoner Exchange—when seven midshipmen and seven cadets swap service academies for a semester. The Army prisoners spelled out “3-PEAT on the back of their uniforms.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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