Air Force’s football team visited President Donald Trump at the White House on Tuesday to celebrate its Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy win.
The Falcons won the trophy in 2016 by beating both Army and Navy. Either Air Force or Navy has won the trophy since 1996, the year of Army’s last win. The trophy celebrates the best service academy based off their records against each other and was first awarded in 1972.
“The cadets here not only represent the future of our Air Force but the future of our country,” Trump said in his opening remarks. “Their skill, dedication, loyalty and patriotism represent the very best of America.”
The visit to the White House came a day after the Department of Defense retracted a 2016 rule that allowed athletes at the three service academies to get a waiver to play professional sports. The retraction meant Air Force wide receiver Jalen Robinette, a potential late-round NFL draft pick, can’t play in the NFL until 2019. Robinette went undrafted over the weekend.
Much like the New England Patriots’ visit to the White House to celebrate the Super Bowl, Air Force’s win became a political affair. And as he brought up efforts to change health care laws in the United States, Trump turned to the team positioned behind him to pretend to ask for the team’s opinion.
After officially introducing the team and coach Troy Calhoun, Trump touted a budget increase for defense spending, took shots at Democrats, bragged about his continually vague plans for a border wall to help keep out “deadly and dangerous threats.” He also talked about helping coal miners and school choice.
He even asked the players if they knew what a donor was and remarked that “I used to be a donor. I used to get everything I wanted.”
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