Trump holds brief 'Celebration of America' event without NFL's Eagles

Trump holds brief 'Celebration of America' event without NFL's Eagles
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Trump's event on the South Lawn of the White House lasted just seven minutes — an anticlimactic end to the latest episode of president's attacks on the NFL.
 
During the event, Trump explained why he thinks athletes should stand for the national anthem, the ostensible reason he canceled the Eagles’ celebratory White House visit.
 
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“Maybe it’s about time that we understood: We stand to honor our military, and to honor our country, and to remember the fallen heroes who never made it back home,” Trump said. “We stand to show our love for our fellow citizens and our magnificent Constitution.”
 
Trump joined in singing along to some of the words to the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” that were played by the U.S. Marine Band and the U.S. Army chorus.
 
The president made no mention of the Eagles during the event but appeared to refer to the team's initial planned visit by saying the turnout was “even bigger than we had anticipated.” 
 
The event, which was organized in less than 24 hours, had a slapdash feeling. Several attendees who spoke to reporters did not appear to have ties to Philadelphia or the Eagles, even though the White House said the event was organized for fans of the team. 
 
One audience member was even caught on camera taking a knee during the national anthem, the same gesture taken by former San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick in protest of racial injustice that sparked the original controversy. 
 
The event capped off a frenzied day that was dominated by Trump’s continued battle with the NFL over players kneeling during the anthem at games.
 
Trump set off the latest round of controversy late Monday when he canceled the Eagles’ Super Bowl ceremony, voicing frustration that many team players refused to show up.
 
The president accused Eagles players of disagreeing with his stance on the anthem, even though none of them knelt during the anthem in 2017. 
 
Several members of the Eagles, however, have vocally disagreed with Trump’s positions and statements on racial issues.
 
The White House on Tuesday accused the Eagles of backing out the event in order to prove a political point. 
 
“If this wasn’t a political stunt by the Eagles franchise, then they wouldn’t have planned to attend the event and then backed out at the last minute,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.