Trump considering waiver for service academy athletes

Presented Army with Commander-in-Chief's trophy

By Betsy Klein, CNN
Getty Images

President Donald Trump is presented with a jersey by running back Darnell Woolfolk (3rd L) as he hosts the U.S. Military Academy football team, the Army Black Knights, in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 6, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

(CNN) - President Donald Trump presented the Army Black Knights with the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy Monday, calling the group "star athletes and stars in every way."

The President then made some news, saying he's looking at "doing a waiver for service academy athletes who can get into the major leagues," adding that those players can serve in the military after they play professionally.

"I think it's a great idea, I think it's really fair, too," he said.

This was the policy under former Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter but was reversed by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis at the start of the Trump administration.

Trump also touted economic numbers and record low unemployment during his remarks, which come as the stock market took a hit after his weekend tweets threatening China tariffs.

The President recognized the distinguished guests in the Rose Garden and praised the team and their coach before recalling their unprecedented back-to-back wins and their 2018 season.

"Every time you enter the field, you prove that you are Army Strong," he said, describing in detail their dramatic victory and calling four (surprised) players and their (less surprised) coach, Jeff Monken, up to the podium to say a few words.

"As Army always does, you held the line," Trump said.

The team, Trump said, plays for "more than a trophy," noting that the lessons they learn on the football field translate to the battlefield and touting "the greatest military that the world has ever known."

He also spent some time talking about his administration's work for veterans and recognized the team's seniors.

Trump was presented with a team helmet before retiring to the West Wing.

CNN's Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

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