US President Donald Trump joins West Point cadets during the Army-Navy football game at Michie Stadium on December 12, 2020 in West Point, New York.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump did not wear a mask for some time while standing closely to West Point cadets and Naval Academy midshipmen — all of whom wore masks — at the Army-Navy football game on Saturday.
Trump, who was hospitalized in early October after contracting the coronavirus, also did not wear a mask when he presided over the coin toss before the game at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Neither did the game’s referee during the coin toss, which Navy won by correctly calling tails.
The 121st meeting on the football gridiron between the two service academies was played after coronavirus deaths set a one-day record of 3,309 Americans, pushing fatalities this year from the pandemic in the U.S. to more than 297,000. On Saturday, the number of coronavirus cases to date in the U.S. this year reached 16 million.
After the coin toss, Trump walked into the stands on the Army side of Michie Stadium, where he was surrounded by cadets wearing masks.
The lame-duck president put on a mask at some point during the game’s first quarter while he was in the stands, where he stood not far from a cadet dressed in an Army mule mascot outfit.
But the president, who on Friday night touted the emergency use approval of a coronavirus vaccine, had taken off his mask by the time he walked out of the stands.
And he did not wear a mask when he went into the stands and stood with the Navy midshipmen. With Trump in the stands was White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who also was not wearing a mask. Meadows was diagnosed with the coronavirus in early November.
U.S. President Trump stands among U.S. Army cadets as he attends the annual Army-Navy collegiate football game at Michie Stadium, in West Point, New York, U.S., December 12, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
Twitter users condemned the commander in chief for not setting a good example for the cadets and midshipmen at the game, the 121st football meeting between the two service academies.
“Trump was the only person at the Army Navy game not wearing a mask! Protect our troops damn it!,” tweeted one person.
Another wrote, “He cares for no one but himself.”
Trump’s failure to wear a mask despite federal health officials urging all Americans to do so is consistent with his near-constant refusal to put on a facial covering during the Covid-19 pandemic, even as dozens of people in his orbit have tested positive for coronavirus.
In addition to Meadows, Trump’s wife, his sons Barron and Donald Trump Jr., campaign manager, the White House press secretary, the Housing and Urban Development secretary, and the Republican National Committee’s chairwoman are among those who had Covid in recent months.
Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is overseeing his campaign’s botched legal efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election, was released just days ago from a Washington, D.C., hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus. Before that, Giuliani’s son Andrew, who is a White House special assistant to Trump, had coronavirus.
Trump left the game early, before the second quarter had ended.
He is expected to leave the White House on Jan. 20, despite his frantic legal and rhetorical efforts to deny a Biden victory on Monday in the Electoral College.
Biden is projected to win 306 electoral votes, 36 more than needed to clinch the presidential race.
As Trump was en route to West Point Saturday, a federal judge tossed out his lawsuit seeking to invalidate Biden’s win in Wisconsin’s popular election.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to let Texas’ attorney general file a lawsuit directly to that court that sought to undo the election results showing wins for Biden in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.