An attendee at President Donald Trump’s speech in the Pentagon on Thursday began waving what looked like a red Make America Great Again hat when the president walked onstage, in an apparent show of support for the president.
Some reporters inside the auditorium captured the moment:
— Nick Schifrin (@nickschifrin) January 17, 2019
— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) January 17, 2019
Spotted at Pentagon: Red MAGA hat on the left pic.twitter.com/PeQno99csZ
— Marcus Weisgerber (@MarcusReports) January 17, 2019
Defense Department video, posted on DVIDs, also caught the moment — which begins at about 11:17 minutes into the video on the far upper left side.
It is not clear whether the person was a Pentagon civilian employee, a military employee, or a visitor to the building. Entrance into the building is typically restricted to those who work inside the building, have a building pass, or are escorted by a Pentagon employee.
A number of senior civilian and military leaders attended the speech, including Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, Army Secretary Mark Esper, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley, and other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
There were also a number of other uniformed and civilian personnel:
Waiting for Trump’s missile defense review speech at the Pentagon… pic.twitter.com/mKjNj4b43m
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) January 17, 2019
Displays of military support for Trump sparked controversy last month after the president and First Lady visited U.S. troops in Iraq on Christmas Day, and some troops reportedly brought MAGA hats for the president to sign. One Air Force captain brought a Trump campaign banner.
The show of support sparked heated debate over how much the military actually supports the president, and there has been consistent criticism from the left that the president is politicizing the military. CNN on Thursday reported that Trump “is fueling unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety inside the Pentagon.”
That anxiety was not readily apparent during the president’s speech. Trump was welcomed with a standing ovation as he walked onstage.
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) January 18, 2019
The president responded to the applause, “Wow, that’s really nice. Thank you. You’re only doing that because I gave you the greatest and biggest budget in our history,” prompting laughter.
“And now I’ve done it two times,” he said, prompting another round of applause.
“And I hate to tell the rest of the world, but I’m about to do it three times,” he said, prompting a third round of applause. “So that’s the only reason you gave me such a nice welcome,” he joked.