WEST POINT, New York — President Trump cut short his visit to the annual Army-Navy football game, leaving the stadium before halftime.
After suffering defeat at the Supreme Court a day earlier and with his supporters rallying in Washington, he opted to leave West Point’s Michie Stadium without waiting to find out whether Army would hold on to its 3-0 lead.
He arrived to the sort of rapturous welcome that would put a spring in any president’s step. He was introduced for the coin toss to cheers that quickly turned into chants of “USA, USA, USA.”
But as he took his place among Army supporters for the first quarter, he offered a glowering presence. A flurry of phones appeared for selfies, but Trump kept his eyes on the field and did not appear to enjoy chatting to the Army cadets around him.
He was initially maskless before putting on a mask a few minutes into the game, which was played in the gloom of heavy fog and wet conditions. Even before the quarter was over, his traveling press pool was hurried to the presidential motorcade as if to leave.
But rather than leave, he made his way to join the midshipmen supporting the Navy for a few minutes of the second quarter.
With minutes remaining in the half, his motorcade was rolling for the airport and the short hop back to Washington.
The president is a keen sports buff, but even the prospect of a clash shrouded in military history and pageantry was not enough to end the brooding that has dominated the past month as he mulls the prospect of leaving office.
He left the White House in the morning flying over thousands of people rallying to “stop the steal” and overturn his election defeat.
The president made clear where his mind was before he departed, lambasting the Supreme Court for declining to take on a case that he hoped would reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“This is a great and disgraceful miscarriage of justice. The people of the United States were cheated, and our Country disgraced. Never even given our day in Court!” Trump wrote Saturday morning on Twitter.
“The Supreme Court had ZERO interest in the merits of the greatest voter fraud ever perpetrated on the United States of America.”