Administration

Trump marks Memorial Day at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Fort McHenry

President Trump marked Memorial Day on Monday, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery before delivering remarks at Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

First lady Melania Trump, Vice President Pence, second lady Karen Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper joined the president for the wreath-laying ceremony.

In the roughly five-minute ceremony, Trump walked up to the wreath and stood silently before touching his hand to it and saluting. 

Trump did not speak at the cemetery, which has been closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The president later traveled to Baltimore to speak at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, where, during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that became “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“Tens of thousands of service members and national guardsmen are on the front lines of our war against this terrible virus,” Trump said. “As one nation, we mourn alongside every single family that has lost loved ones, including the families of our great veterans.”

“Together we will vanquish the virus and America will rise from this crisis to new and even greater heights,” he added.

Baltimore is still under a stay-at-home order, which had prompted its mayor, Jack Young, to beg the president not to come. 

“That President Trump is deciding to pursue non-essential travel sends the wrong message to our residents, many of whom have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus,” he said in a statement obtained by The Hill. 

White House spokesman Judd Deere responded in a statement saying, “The brave men and women who have preserved our freedoms for generations did not stay home and the President will not either as he honors their sacrifice by visiting such a historic landmark in our Nation’s history.”

The Baltimore Sun reported that dozens of Trump supporters gathered outside of Fort McHenry.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, made his first public appearance in more than two months by placing a wreath at a veterans park in Delaware near his home.

Over the weekend, American flags at the White House and public buildings flew at half-staff to commemorate the nearly 100,000 people who have died from COVID-19.

Updated on May 26 at 1:05 p.m.

Tags Baltimore Coronavirus coronavirus. COVID-19 Delaware Donald Trump Joe Biden Karen Pence Mark Esper Maryland Melania Trump Memorial Day Memorial Day weekend Mike Pence

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