Trump’s “Celebration of America” Features His Unfamiliarity With “God Bless America”

Patriotism was hard for the president today.

After abruptly canceling a White House fete originally intended to celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl victory—a decision President Donald Trump pinned on a disagreement between him and the players over protests during the national anthem—the White House on Tuesday staged an impromptu event to “celebrate” America instead. The last-minute ceremony featured brief remarks by the president and a military sing-a-long to “God Bless America.” 

But by the end of the event, Trump had already attracted ridicule over his apparent unfamiliarity with the song’s lyrics. The awkward display quickly drew accusations of hypocrisy, with many pointing to the irony of Trump’s struggle amid his ongoing attacks against athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality. (Trump was notoriously heckled for the same when he appeared to forget the words to the national anthem in January.)

After the Eagles informed the White House that most of its players would not be attending the event, Trump announced Monday evening that he was calling off the traditionally apolitical ceremony. But in a tweet, Trump also blamed protests for the cancelation, when in fact none of the Eagles took a knee during the last season.

Nevertheless, after withdrawing the invitation, the White House implied that the team was disappointing fans who had planned on attending. “The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better,” a statement read. 

Reporters on the scene for “Celebration of America” have added skepticism to the White House’s claims. When asked about basic Eagles knowledge, many seemed unfamiliar. One man, however, kneeled during the event.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate