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VIDEO/PICS: Trump meets with Army-Navy players ahead of 120th match-up

President Donald J. Trump met with the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen coaching staff and players prior to the 120th Army-Navy football game. The team presented Trump with a jersey and patch honoring the Sailors killed during the Dec. 6 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas)
December 14, 2019

President Trump attended the 120th Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Saturday and met with the players from each team ahead of the game.

While meeting with West Point’s Black Knights, Trump was presented with a “45” jersey.

Trump was accompanied by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who also spoke to the players.

A Trump “45” section in the West Point Black Knights locker room. (White House/Released)

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Esper also credited Trump for directing a policy change implemented in November that now allows military academy players to delay their military service and immediately pursue a professional sports career upon completing the academy.

“What we’re doing now, is you’ll go out and you’ll make a fortune, and after you’re all finished with your professional career, you’ll go and you’ll serve. Everybody’s thrilled. That means you can go out and you can do whatever you want,” Trump said.

“It probably gives the coach no reason to ever lose another game,” he joked.

Video also shows Trump shaking hands with and giving a pep talk to the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen ahead of the game.

President Donald J. Trump met with the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen coaching staff and players prior to the 120th Army-Navy football game. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas)

The Midshipmen also presented Trump with a “45” jersey, to which he joked, “can I play today?”

President Donald J. Trump met with the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen coaching staff and players prior to the 120th Army-Navy football game. The team presented Trump with a jersey and patch honoring the Sailors killed during the Dec. 6 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas)

Trump commended the Midshipmen’s “great season” and encouraged them to “go out there and play hard.” He also told the players that military teams playing in representation of the country was a “big positive.”

President Donald J. Trump met with the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen coaching staff and players prior to the 120th Army-Navy football game. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas)