Most Philadelphia Eagles fans would know that the team’s starting quarterback last season was Carson Wentz, and that Nick Foles took over from an injured Wentz in the last three regular season games, before leading the team to victory at Super Bowl LII. However, a reporter at the scene of President Donald Trump’s so-called “Celebration of America” on Tuesday claims that all of the fans he spoke to at the event had no idea who was lining up behind center for last season’s NFL champions.
According to a report from NBC Philadelphia, the “well over 1,000” Eagles fans whom White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the “Celebration of America” appeared to be largely clueless when reporters tried to verify if there were actual Philadelphia residents gathered at the White House. The event served as an alternative celebration after Trump disinvited the entire Philadelphia Eagles team from their customary visit as NFL champions, citing the ongoing controversy over the playing of the national anthem at NFL games as the reason behind the move.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow. They disagree with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country,” read a statement from Trump quoted by Fortune.
Reporters at the White House on Tuesday noted that some of the attendees flashed “blank stares” when they were asked where they came from, while other attendees appeared to be White House staffers surreptitiously attending the event and hiding their badges behind their jackets and shirts, according to a tweet from ABC News‘ Karen Travers.
An NBC Philadelphia reporter, Tim Furlong, made the following observation on Twitter about how there didn’t seem to be too many actual Philadelphia Eagles fans at the Celebration of America.
“I’ve asked 6 of the ‘fans’ at the White House who was the @Eagles quarterback during the Super Bowl. Not ONE person knew.”
Likewise, Philadelphia ABC reporter Jamie Apody tweeted that she counted only two Eagles hats and one Carson Wentz jersey while attending the event.
The apparent lack of true Philadelphia Eagles fans at the Celebration of America was not the only controversy Trump dealt with in the aftermath of the eight-minute-long event. Multiple publications, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, referred to the Celebration of America as a “jingoistic” attempt to appeal to his conservative followers. Additionally, a report from Spin alleged that Trump, for all his focus on patriotic songs at the event, didn’t know the words to “God Bless America,” as shown when he failed to properly lip sync most of the song’s lines. The Inquisitr also reported that an unidentified man took a knee during the singing of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” before quickly leaving the festivities and choosing not to talk to reporters.