Ahead of the Super Bowl, President Donald Trump issued a statement extending his gratitude toward the U.S. military.
“As many Americans come together to watch the Super Bowl, Melania and I extend our greetings and appreciation for those who make occasions like this possible, particularly the brave men and women of our Armed Forces.”
He talked about proudly standing for the national anthem—the predominant storyline for the 2017-2018 season after many players took knees or did other forms of protest during the anthem.
“Though many of our Nation’s service members are unable to be home with family and friends to enjoy this evening’s American tradition, they are always in our thoughts and prayers. We owe these heroes the greatest respect for defending our liberty and our American way of life. Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner. We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem,” he wrote.
Trump didn’t do an interview for the Super Bowl, which former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush have done. President Bush started the tradition.
Trump added: “We send our best wishes for an enjoyable Super Bowl Sunday. May God bless and protect our troops, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.”
In September, Trump slammed players who took a knee during the national anthem, and at one point, he called for players who didn’t stand to be fired.
It’s not clear if Trump will be watching the Super Bowl, which pits the New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles.