Donald Trump is partaking in one of the nation’s most storied football rivalries, saluting US troops at the annual Army-Navy game on Saturday as he prepares to enter the White House. The future commander in chief attended the 117th game between the military academies at West Point and Annapolis, which is being held on relatively neutral ground, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Trump tweeted on Saturday morning that he was going to the game “as a show of support for our Armed Forces.” He planned to spend the first half of the game in the box of David Urban, a West Point graduate and Republican adviser and the second half in the box of retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, a graduate of Annapolis.
A Trump transition official said Trump would not formally switch sides at halftime in the traditional symbol of commander in chief neutrality because he is not the sitting president. The team member spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the president-elect’s plans. Trump is a 1964 graduate of the New York Military Academy near West Point.
Before the game, Trump met with Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a leading contender for secretary of state. Trump’s pick to lead the State Department is among his most significant decisions and the deliberations have become a source of tension within his transition team, with chief of staff Reince Priebus said to be backing Mitt Romney while other advisers oppose the idea of selecting the 2012 GOP nominee, given his fierce criticism of Trump during the campaign.
Tillerson, who has led Exxon Mobil since 2006, and also met Trump earlier in the week.
In addition to Romney, Trump has also been considering Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Trump announced Friday that Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who was an early favorite, was no longer under consideration.
Trump’s appearance at the football game was capping off a week of rolling out Cabinet picks, holding “thank you” rallies in North Carolina, Iowa and Michigan, and trying to cement his incoming Senate majority with Saturday’s runoff election in Louisiana.
The incoming president appeared jovial and relaxed as he plunged back into electoral politics on Friday, a full month after he won the presidency. He held large-scale events in Louisiana and in Michigan, where he regaled supporters in Grand Rapids by reciting his victories in battleground states.
Trump is the first Republican to win Michigan since George H.W. Bush in 1988. He attributed his feat to failures by Democrats.
In private, people close to Trump said he was expected to name yet another Goldman Sachs executive to his White House team. The president-elect’s National Economic Council is to be led by Gary Cohn, president and chief operating officer of the Wall Street bank, which Trump repeatedly complained during the election campaign would control Hillary Clinton if she won.