Donald Trump was greeted with cheers on his arrival at the annual Army-Navy game on Saturday, basking in one of the nation’s most storied football rivalries as he prepares to enter the White House.
The future commander in chief, protected by panes of bulletproof glass, waved to the crowd and pumped his fist as he arrived during the first quarter of the 117th game between the military academies at West Point and Annapolis. The game, on a sunny but chilly day, was being held on relatively neutral ground, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Trump, in an interview with CBS Sports announcers Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, said he was “totally neutral” on the outcome of the game and quipped that he might make Lundquist, who was retiring from the play-by-play booth, his ambassador to Sweden.
“I just love the armed forces, love the folks. The spirit is so incredible. I mean, I don’t know if it’s necessarily the best football, but it’s very good. But boy do they have spirit,” Trump said. Navy had won 14 straight contests in the rivalry, but Army’s underdog Black Knights prevailed, 21-17, in a fourth quarter comeback that came weeks after Trump’s stunning victory over Hillary Clinton.
Trump spent the first half of the game in the box of David Urban, a West Point graduate and one of his Republican advisers in battleground Pennsylvania, and the second half in the box of retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, a graduate of Annapolis. During the Ronald Reagan administration, North was the National Security Council aide most directly involved in covertly selling arms to Iran and providing military assistance to the Contras, a group seeking to overthrow Nicaragua’s left-leaning government.