When former President Donald Trump officially took office in January 2017, he wasn’t shy about sharing his opinion on popular sports debates. From the NFL anthem protests to NBA superstar LeBron James and everything else in-between, the Commander-in-Chief was rather vocal on numerous hot-button topics, especially on social media.
Although he never threw a Presidential first pitch at an MLB game — something every sitting POTUS since William Howard Taft has done — he officially joined a smaller-than-expected list of Presidents to attend the prestigious, annual Army-Navy football game, a tradition he did three times in a row when he went to the 2020 installment of the annual rivalry game.
Trump, the 45th President of the United States, attended the famous college football rivalry game on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He continued a tradition that not every President does.
However, this was not President Trump’s first time watching the Army Black Knights play Navy Midshipmen live. He was interviewed on the CBS broadcast when he was President-elect of the United States in 2016 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Thanks to the phenomenal Washington Post archives, here is a look at all 10 sitting U.S. Presidents to attend the NCAA gridiron matchup for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy over the years.
The 10 Sitting Presidents Who Attended Army vs. Navy
President Theodore Roosevelt (1901, 1905)
As the first sitting POTUS to attend the game at Franklin Field, Roosevelt left the White House and took a special train to Philadelphia for the game, which Army won 11-5. The 26th President also attend the 6-6 tie in 1905.
President Woodrow Wilson (1913)
Despite starting the on-going tradition of Presidential first pitches, William Howard Taft never attend an Army-Navy game while in office. Woodrow Wilson did, however, and saw Army defeat Navy 22-9 in 1913.
President Calvin Coolidge (1924)
Another game attended by the President. Another win for Army over Navy. The 30th President of the United States saw the Black Knights defeat the Midshipmen 12-0 in 1924. Much like Wilson did a decade earlier, Coolidge switched sides of the field at halftime, which is tradition.
President Harry S. Truman (1945-50, 1952)
After over 20 years of no sitting President attending the game (neither Herbert Hoover nor Franklin D. Roosevelt attended) President Harry Truman went for seven of his eight years in office. Army went 4-2-1 in those games, too. He only missed the 1951 game because he was on vacation. However, Supreme Court Justice Fred M. Vinson and four Cabinet members attending in Truman’s place.
President John F. Kennedy (1961-62)
The last POTUS to attend the Army-Navy game in consecutive years, JFK was the first president to take part in the ceremonial coin toss. Navy won both contests.
President Gerald Ford (1974)
Neither Lyndon B. Johnson nor Richard Nixon attended the rivalry, but Gerald Ford sure did and watched Navy win 19-0 in Philadelphia.
President Bill Clinton (1996)
It’s kind of hard to imagine Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush never made it to the game, but it didn’t happened. There was another 20-plus year gap with a POTUS attending until Bill Clinton went in 1996. The Black Knights defeated the Midshipmen, 28-24, in Philly.
President George W. Bush (2001, 2004, 2008)
From coin tosses to giving pregame pep talks, President Bush had quite the experience in his three times attending the rivalry showdown, where Navy went 2-1 when this POTUS was at the game. What an incredible moment for players of the U.S. Naval Academy to get a motivational speech by the President of the United States, which was captured by The Associated Press.
President Barack Obama (2011)
While Philadelphia is the primary home for this military rivalry, President Obama attended the only game played at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. He was even accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden and did the ceremonial coin toss prior to kickoff of Navy’s 27-21 victory over Army.
President Donald Trump (2018, 2019, 2020)
It doesn’t get any more American than a President of the United States attending a college football game between the two service academies. Trump became the 10th sitting President to attend the game.
In 2021, President Joe Biden did not attend the game, which was played in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
This post was originally published on December 5, 2018.