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144 Two men take knee during national anthem at Trump’s White House ceremony

WASHINGTON — Instead of welcoming the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House on Tuesday, President Trump held an event to “celebrate America” and play the national anthem.

And, according to a video and photos posted to social media, at least two of the attendees at that celebration decided to take a knee.

A television reporter for SVT, Sweden’s national public television broadcaster, posted a video of the event Tuesday in which a man in a light-blue shirt is kneeling as the United States Marine Band plays The Star-Spangled Banner. The man, who could not immediately be identified by USA TODAY Sports, applauds and stands as the song ends.

Jesper Zølck of TV 2 Denmark reported that the man left shortly after kneeling and did not give his name nor say anything.

Jesper Zølck@zolckTv2

At The White House. One guy in the audience took a knee during the national anthem at President Trumps celebration of America no Eagles event. Left right after – didn’t wanna talk

Carina Bergfeldt@carinabergfeldt

En man knäböjde under nationalsången på Trumps firande.

A CNN reporter later posted a picture of a second man and reported that he kneeled during the anthem before yelling at Trump, which drew boos from other attendees nearby. The second man also could not be immediately identified.

The playing of the national anthem was followed by brief remarks from Trump, who spoke for about three minutes about the importance of standing for the national anthem. Trump did not mention the Eagles or the NFL in his remarks, but he said the event was “even bigger than we had anticipated.”

The United States Army Chorus then sang God Bless America. Trump mouthed portions of the song but did not sing it word-for-word — which later prompted criticism and jokes on Twitter.

More: Sarah Sanders says Eagles pulled ‘political stunt,’ Trump refuses questions at event

MORE: Fox News apologizes after Eagles’ Zach Ertz blasts national anthem ‘propaganda’

MORE: Donald Trump rips NFL’s anthem policy in tweets: ‘NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!’

The crowd at Tuesday’s event was largely clad in suits and professional attire, though a few fans were seen wearing Eagles gear.

Earlier Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders blamed the Eagles for the last-minute change and referred to it as “a political stunt” by the organization.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

Updated: 6th June 2018 — 5:47 pm

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