Donald Trump is a man who says he cares a lot about the national anthem, the flag, and other normie displays of patriotism. But Trump is also a well-established buffoon and liar—he's playing the role of president just like he used to play the role of "billionaire" on The Apprentice, and he is not very convincing. (The constant whining about the Russia "witch hunt" and "fake news" and "shithole countries" is hardly presidential.) His version of patriotism is performative and always at least a little angry. Even Tuesday's "Celebration of America" event was inspired by grievance: Not many Philadelphia Eagles players were going to make the customary White House visit Super Bowl winners usually make, so Trump canceled it and held a made-up-on-the-spot shindig instead.
That gave us a quintessential Trump presidency moment, with Trump singing along with "God Bless America" but apparently not knowing the words:
This isn't even the first time that the president didn't know the words to a patriotic song. In January, he was caught out for not knowing the words to the national anthem. This is classic Trump—of course he's unfamiliar with the lyrics to these songs, just like he's unfamiliar with large portions of American history. Knowing facts takes some work, and work is something Trump has never been interested in, which is probably why he gets so many things wrong. (He was also wrong when he implied that Eagles players had kneeled for the national anthem during the season. They didn't.)
This will not be the last time Trump's buffoonery and ignorance illuminates the emptiness of the argument against NFL players taking a knee, but it is the most recent. Anyway, it was a typical day in the Trump era.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.