President Donald Trump and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, hosted a Super Bowl watch party Sunday night at the Trump International Golf Club near West Palm Beach.
They were met by the Florida Atlantic University Marching Band, cheerleaders and dance team. The band played “Hail to the Chief,” “Boogie Wonderland” and “Shut Up and Dance” as the first couple watched.
“Fantastic. So great, thank you so much,” Trump told them. “That was so great, great job, great talent, enjoy the game.”
.After performance, Trump shook hands with the cheerleaders and the band director.
The president did not respond to a shouted question about whether he was rooting for the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles.
He punted when he was asked his preference earlier this week at the White House, saying “I better not get involved.”
However, Trump is good friends with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who is a member of the private club at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump wore a suit, while the first lady wore white pants with a satin football red, white and blue jacket.
But will the president be able to catch the game’s end? Last year, the Trumps also hosted a Super Bowl party at the golf club, with several hundred people attending. But the first couple left early for Washington, missing Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ dramatic, history-making comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
When the White House released Trump’s schedule on Saturday, it noted that the Trumps would be leaving West Palm Beach for Washington at 9 p.m. on Sunday.
For the president, the Super Bowl bash was his second trip of the day to the golf course, on Summit Road between Kirk Road and Congress Ave., south of the Palm Beach International Airport.
The presidential motorcade arrived at the club at 9:30 a.m., giving Trump some time to golf, before leaving the golf club just before 2:45 p.m.
After returning to Mar-a-Lago, Trump expressed appreciation for U.S. service members on Super Bowl Sunday, saying their bravery and sacrifice help make occasions like the year’s most-watched football game possible and renewing his criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.
“Though many of our Nation’s service members are unable to be home with family and friends to enjoy this evening’s American tradition, they are always in our thoughts and prayers,” Trump said in a statement.
“We owe these heroes the greatest respect for defending our liberty and our American way of life. Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner,” Trump said. “We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem.”
The president has been critical of NFL players who exercise their right to freedom of expression by kneeling during the national anthem to protest unfair police treatment of minorities. Trump says the practice is disrespectful to service members, and he has criticized the league and team owners for allowing the kneeling to continue.
Trump was also briefed about the early Sunday Amtrak crash near Columbia, South Carolina, that killed two Amtrak employees and injured over 100 others. Just before noon, he tweeted about the crash, expressing condolences and thanking the emergency workers who responded.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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