Donald Trump has been roundly mocked after forgetting the words to God Bless America – at an event that supposed to celebrate ‘patriotism’.
Footage shows the president fluff his lines while standing alongside members of the US armed forces before appearing to give up on the Irving Berlin song altogether.
The rendition was part of a White House event styled as a “celebration of America” – intended to underline the Trump administration’s patriotism.
His failure is particularly striking as yesterday he uninvited the NFL champions the Philadelphia Eagles to his much-criticised claims that taking a knee during the national anthem is ‘unpatriotic’.
American athletes across the country have been using the peaceful protest ahead of sports games to highlight concerns about violence suffered by African Americans.
During the occasion, held on the South Lawn of the White House, a man shouted at the President: "Stop hiding behind the armed services and the National Anthem."
Another man was seen ‘taking a knee’ during the performance, apparently echoing sports stars who have been vilified by the Trump administration for making the public protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The President had initially asked the Superbowl champions to a reception at the White House but when several team members declined to attend in protest he pulled the invitation for the whole team.
Instead of cancelling the event altogether though, Trump invited the 1,000 Eagles fans expected to take part in the ceremony.
During a brief speech, Trump took aim at people who refuse to stand for the National Anthem as a mark of protest.
He said: "We stand to show our love for our fellow citizens and our magnificent Constitution."
Trump has feuded with NFL players over the past year, slamming on-field protests in which players sat or kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial bias in the US criminal justice system amid accusations of excessive use of force against black people by police.
None of the Eagles players knelt during the playing of the anthem during the football season, but Trump brought up the anthem protests when he canceled the team’s invitation on Monday.
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The White House said it had canceled the long-established capital tradition after the Eagles said that just a handful of people would attend the event, fewer than the 81 initially proposed.
At least two members of the champion team and the NFL players’ union pushed back, saying that the event should have gone forward if any Eagles planned to attend.
"Our union is disappointed in the decision by the White House to disinvite players from the Philadelphia Eagles from being recognized and celebrated by all Americans," the NFL Players Association said in a statement. "NFL players love their country."
In her daily briefing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders criticized the Eagles.
"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," she told reporters.
Some Eagles players took to Twitter to hit out at Trump’s decision.
"It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you," Torrey Smith, a member of the Super Bowl-winning Eagles team who has since been traded to the Carolina Panthers, said on Twitter on Monday.
"No one refused to go simply because Trump ‘insists’ folks stand for the anthem," Smith, a wide receiver, said.
"There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go," he said.
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