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Trump Plans to Attend Saturday's Army-Navy Game

A West Point cadet holds a sign at the 2015 Army-Navy Game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Navy beat Army 21–17. (Military.com photo/Michael Hoffman)
A West Point cadet holds a sign at the 2015 Army-Navy Game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Navy beat Army 21–17. (Military.com photo/Michael Hoffman)

President-elect Donald Trump plans to attend the 117th Army-Navy Game on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, a Trump transition official said Tuesday.

Trump will follow the Army-Navy game tradition of sitting on the West Point side of the field for the first half and then crossing at midfield to sit on the Naval Academy's side for the second half.

On the same day Trump officially announced he will appoint retired Marine Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis as defense secretary, Sean Spicer, the Trump transition team spokesman, told reporters on a conference call the president-elect will attend the Army-Navy game. Trump and Mattis spoke Tuesday at a rally at Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg.

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Presidents have attended the traditional Army-Navy football game since former President Theodore Roosevelt was the first to do so in 1901. Army and Navy have been playing football since 1890.

A president almost ended the rivalry in 1893 when President Grover Cleveland called a cabinet meeting and ordered the two service academies to stop playing each other after a post-game argument ended in a duel between a Navy rear admiral and an Army brigadier general.

This year, Navy looks to extend its series record 14-game winning streak over Army. The two teams will both enter the game with winning records for the first time since 2010, Army 6-5 and Navy 9-3.

President Barack Obama last attended the game in 2011 when the game was played in Landover, Maryland. He stood with the Midshipmen and the Cadets during the game.

"As important as sports are, these guys are going to be in life-or-death situations voluntarily, protecting our country. They're going to be on the same team," Obama said at the time. "It constantly makes you grateful for being here in America and these incredible young people. They are the best we have to offer."

-- Michael Hoffman can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com. Follow him on Twitter at @_MichaelHoffman.

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Army-Navy Game Donald Trump