Did Donald Trump Forget the Words to the National Anthem?

As president of the United States, Donald Trump has heard the national anthem countless times. But when he took the field before a college football national championship game in Atlanta on Monday, January 8, some people were quick to accuse him of forgetting the lyrics.

The 71-year-old stood alongside members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps during the opening ceremony of a game between the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia. He placed his right hand over his heart and mouthed the words while Zac Brown Band sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Donald Trump during the National Anthem at the the College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta, Georgia on January 8, 2018.
Donald Trump during the national anthem at the College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta on January 8, 2018. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Trump began singing along from the very beginning of the song, but only mouthed a few words here and there. As the anthem went on, he gradually began taking longer pauses and moving his mouth less, which quickly caught the attention of many Twitter users.

“It looked like Donald Trump just kept repeating ‘applesauce’ during the National Anthem,” one viewer quipped. Another person tweeted, “Trump’s been trying to get football players fired for kneeling during the National Anthem and this man can’t even mumble it on national television right.”

Earlier in the day, the former Celebrity Apprentice host said during a speech to farmers in Nashville that “we love our flag and we love our anthem and we want to keep it that way.” He also repeated his criticism of the NFL players who kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality.

Trump sparked controversy last September after he referred to Colin Kaepernick and other protesting athletes as “sons of bitches” during a rally in Alabama. In a series of tweets, he later called for a boycott of the NFL. The league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, responded in a statement at the time, saying, “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players.”

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