President Donald Trump will be in Philadelphia this weekend for the annual Army-Navy game, the White House has confirmed, which is expected to draw anti-Trump protesters to the traditional match-up.
The 119-year old tradition pits military students from West Point Military Academy (Army) and Annapolis Naval Academy (Navy) against each other in a time-honored game of pigskin.
There will also be two days of pre-game pep rallies, athletic competitions around Philadelphia before the match-up at Lincoln Financial Field, where it has been held every year since 2003.
Although Trump attended a game prior to his election in 2016, this is his first game as the Commander-In-Chief. As a result, heightened security measures will be in place include road closures as well as the possibility of anti-Trump protests around Philadelphia or near the game.
There have been 20 visits by sitting presidents to the Army-Navy game – starting in 1901 with President Theodore Roosevelt. The president traditionally will switch their seat from one side of the field to the other at half-time to demonstrate equal favor for both branches of the military. Former president Barack Obama was in Philadelphia in 2011 to attend the match-up.
Trump’s attending of the Army-Navy game in Baltimore in 2016 was occasioned by small protests.
Trump’s last visit to Philly in October 2018 to an electricians’ convention was marked by large street protests by activists carrying banners with the image of Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty – the first time the then-brand-new mascot was identified as a mascot of left-wing protests, which has since become pervasive.
On Thursday, the Refuse Fascism Philly group posted a Facebook event inviting attendees to protest Trump. The same group has protested past visits to Philly by Trump and VP Mike Pence, whom they have labeled “fascists.”
“Trump is coming to Philly this Saturday to the Army/Navy football game at Lincoln Financial Field,” organizers wrote. “Refuse Fascism will be bringing the demand that the whole fascist regime be driven out of power, in the name of all humanity and the planet.”
They plan to meet up at 11th and Pattison Avenue on Saturday, but the location may be changed. So if you’re planning to attend the game, be prepared.