Does Donald Trump Know the Words to 'God Bless America?'

After uninviting Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles players to the White House yesterday, President Donald Trump proudly hosted a "celebration of America" event instead, inviting the team's fans to join him on the White House South Lawn.

But standing before the U.S. Marine Band and Army Chorus, Trump's patriotic moment was tarnished when he seemed to forget the words to God Bless America, USA Today reported.

Though the president managed the first few words, Trump quickly stopped singing, bobbing his head along and looking around at the soldiers behind him. He would periodically join in again for a word or two, but seemed a little lost.

President Donald Trump applauds as members of the Army Chorus sing at his "celebration of America" event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Trump's performance was ridiculed by viewers amused that a man who brags of his own patriotism was apparently unable to sing along to one of the nation's most storied tunes.

Yesterday's event was quickly arranged after Trump withdrew an invitation to the Eagles when it became clear most players would not attend. White House officials told the New York Times fewer than 10 players planned to accept Trump's invitation to the ceremony, traditionally a non-political event.

Trump said the fans who had come out to see the Eagles could instead join him for a "different type of ceremony—one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the national anthem."

The Trump-Eagles spat is the latest episode in a national debate sparked by NFL players protesting against police brutality and racial inequality in the U.S. Over the past season, many footballers decided to take a knee or remain in the locker room during pre-game national anthems.

Though African American players initially drove the movement, teammates of all ethnicities joined in as it gathered momentum. No Eagles players took part in such protests during the past season.

The Dallas Cowboys players, coaches and staff take a knee prior to the national anthem before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on September 25, 2017. Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Upon canceling the event, Trump took to Twitter to claim that the Eagles players "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."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement calling Trump a "fragile egomaniac" who is "afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend."

The anthem debate grew heated towards the end of last season, with some team owners vowing not to play any team members that knelt. Last month, the NFL approved a new policy meaning players must either stand and observe the anthem or remain in the locker room for its duration. The new rules will allow teams to discipline any members who protests publically during the song.

However, this clearly was not enough for Trump, who tweeted, "Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!"

Despite the military bands, miniature American flags and Trump's self-aggrandizing speech, it was clear that not everyone in the crowd agreed with the president's comments. One heckler attempted to disrupt Trump's speech, but was drowned out by the crowd. Another, more subtle protest took place as the eight-minute ceremony came to a close, with one attendee making his feelings clear by taking a knee.