Donald Trump Touts the 'Sheer Determination of the American People' in Memorial Day Speech As Virus Death Toll Climbs

Returning to the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner to honor the country's fallen Americans, President Donald Trump delivered a Memorial Day speech Monday centered on grit and resolve as the nation tries to find new normalcy amid a pandemic.

The president's roughly 13-minute speech at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, followed a visit to Arlington National Cemetery for a somber wreath-laying ceremony and addressed head-on the coronavirus that has claimed the lives of nearly 100,000 Americans.

"Together, we will vanquish the virus, and America will rise from this crisis to new and even greater heights. As our brave warriors have shown us from the nation's earliest days, in America we are the captains of our own fate," Trump said. "No obstacle, no challenge and no threat is a match for the sheer determination of the American people. This towering spirit permeates every inch of the hollow soil beneath our feet."

Trump paid homage to Francis Scott Key, the U.S. lawyer and poet who coined the famous Star-Spangled Banner poem after watching American and British troops battle in the War of 1812. The poem would later become the country's national anthem.

"Every time we sing our anthem, every time this rousing chorus swells our hearts with pride, we renew the eternal bonds of loyalty to our fallen heroes," Trump said.

The solemn Monday events honoring the countless men and women who gave their lives to defend American freedom was in stark contrast to how the president spent the rest of his Memorial Day weekend.

Donald Trump Memorial Day weekend
President Donald Trump speaks as he and First Lady Melania Trump participate in a Memorial Day Ceremony at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on May 25 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty

Saturday and Sunday featured rounds of golf for the president at his country club in Sterling, Virginia, while peppering the world of Twitter with personal attacks against his perceived political foes, false or inaccurate claims and a conspiracy theory. Absent from Trump's remarks and flurry of social media posts this holiday weekend headed into Monday was mention of the virus' death toll that crept closer to six figures.

Through tweets and retweets on Saturday and Sunday, Trump called former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a "skank," ridiculed the weight of former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams by sharing a post with her picture that said she "visited every buffet restaurant in the State" and mocked the looks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) by sharing an image of her with duct tape over her mouth.

The president attacked his predecessor for golfing, even as Trump himself was partaking in the sport at his private course. He also touted conspiracy theories that former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) and current MSNBC host may have killed a woman and that voting by mail is rampant with fraud.

His brief mention of coronavirus was aimed at downplaying the pandemic's domestic death toll.

"Cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country!" Trump tweeted Sunday morning.