One of President Donald Trump’s fiercest media critics said the president “did the right thing” with his D-Day anniversary address on Thursday.
CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who was at one point banned from the White House after a combative media session, praised Trump for remarks the president delivered on the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion that changed the course of World War II.
Trump spoke at Omaha Beach in a ceremony attended by representatives of France and Britain — America’s allies during the war — as well as Germany, which was under Nazi rule in the war but has since been a staunch American ally.
In his commentary on the ceremony, Acosta, who has a new book out attacking the Trump White House, opted for a different tone than his usual one when speaking about Trump.
“I think this was perhaps the most on-message moment of Donald Trump’s presidency today,” Acosta said.
“We were all wondering whether he would veer from his remarks, go off of his script there, but he stayed on script, stayed on message and, I think, rose to the moment.”
“And as he was talking about those men gathered behind him, he described them as being among the greatest Americans who have ever lived. I mean, that could not be more of a fact-check true if we could have found one,” Acosta added.
“It really was one of those moments that, I think, Donald Trump needed to rise to in order to, I think, walk away from this cemetery, walk away from this hallowed ground and have people back at home saying, ‘you know what, no matter what I think about the current president of the United States, he said the right thing at Normandy. He did the right thing at Normandy,'” Acosta said.
“On these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago, 10,000 men shed their blood, and thousands sacrificed their lives, for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty,” Trump said.
“Today, we remember those who fell, and we honor all who fought right here in Normandy. They won back this ground for civilization.”
Speaking to the 170 World War II veterans who attended the ceremony, Trump said, “You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live. You’re the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
He added, to the 60 invasion veterans who attended, “Our debt to you is everlasting. Today, we express our undying gratitude.”
Trump called World War II “a great crusade — one of the greatest of all times,” and characterized the mission of those who served as “the story of an epic battle and the ferocious, eternal struggle between good and evil.”
Trump noted that America did not fight alone.
“There were the British, whose nobility and fortitude saw them through the worst of Dunkirk and the London Blitz. The full violence of Nazi fury was no match for the full grandeur of British pride,” Trump said, also recognizing contributions of Canada, Norway, Australia and Poland.
After telling the stories of some who fought that day, Trump commemorated the Americans who came to Normandy, many of whom never left alive.
“They were young men with their entire lives before them. They were husbands who said goodbye to their young brides and took their duty as their fate,” he said. “They were fathers who would never meet their infant sons and daughters because they had a job to do. And with God as their witness, they were going to get it done. They came wave after wave, without question, without hesitation and without complaint.”
“These men ran through the fires of hell moved by a force no weapon could destroy: the fierce patriotism of a free, proud and sovereign people. They battled not for control and domination, but for liberty, democracy and self-rule. They pressed on for love and home and country — the main streets, the schoolyards, the churches and neighbors, the families and communities that gave us men such as these.”
“They were sustained by the confidence that America can do anything because we are a noble nation, with a virtuous people, praying to a righteous God,” Trump said.
Trump offered one final direct message to the veterans
“To the men who sit behind me, and to the boys who rest in the field before me, your example will never, ever grow old. Your legend will never tire. Your spirit — brave, unyielding and true — will never die,” Trump said.
French President Emmanuel Macron preceded Trump, Fox News reported.
He said in French that, “Today France has not forgotten to those who we owe our right to freedom.”
Macron then spoke in English to the assembled veterans of the invasion.
“We know what we owe to you veterans. Our freedom. On behalf of my nation, I just want to say thank you,” he said.
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