President Donald Trump will be among the nearly 75,000 fans in attendance at Monday night’s College Football Playoff national championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, sources told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday.
Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said the department is aware of the president’s plans and is coordinating with the Secret Service.
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) January 3, 2018
The game was already going to have a large security presence, but the president’s visit will heighten security even further.
Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, told USA Today he had not talked to anyone at the White House about the specifics of the president’s trip.
“I’m sure the White House will announce the president’s travel plans,” Hancock said.
Trump will attend the game with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue — a Georgia native who played football for the Bulldogs as a freshman in 1965 — and Nick Ayers, a Georgia native who is Vice President Mike Pence’s top aide.
First lady Melania Trump is also expected to attend the game.
Someone else who hopes to be at the game is Trump’s ex-wife Marla Maples. Maples is an alum of the University of Georgia. She went on Twitter after Monday’s semifinal games to say she was looking for tickets.
— marla maples (@itsmarlamaples) January 2, 2018
Trump won both Georgia and Alabama in the 2016 presidential election. He won Georgia by 5 percentage points, thanks largely to support outside of the Atlanta area. He won Alabama by nearly 30 points.
Trump’s visit might create some tension. Just before his inauguration last year, Trump said Atlanta was “crime infested” and in “horrible shape” in a series of tweets criticizing U.S. Rep. John Lewis after Lewis announced he would boycott the inauguration.
The game’s halftime performer, Kendrick Lamar, is an outspoken critic of Trump and a vocal supporter of former President Barack Obama.
“The key differences [between Obama and Trump] are morals, dignity, principles, common sense,” Lamar said in an October interview. “How can you follow someone who doesn’t know how to approach someone or speak to them kindly and with compassion and sensitivity?”
This will be the largest sporting event Trump has attended as president. He attended the Army-Navy football game a month after he was elected but before he took office.
In June, Trump was on hand for the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship that was held at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
On Wednesday, the Houston Astros announced they will visit the White House as guests of Trump in honor of the team’s World Series championship. The date of the visit has not yet been announced.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.