NEW YORK — President Donald Trump kicked off New York City’s Veterans Day Tribute on Monday by saying the nation’s veterans “risked everything for us. Now it is our duty to serve and protect them every single day of our lives.”
President Trump spoke at the opening of the 100th annual parade organized by the United War Veterans Council in Madison Square Park. He is the first sitting president to accept the group’s invitation to speak at the event.
President Trump also used the event to tout the strength of the U.S. military and the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying “al-Baghdadi is dead. His second in charge is dead. We have our eyes on number 3.”
President Trump has been a longtime supporter of the parade. The New York Times reported that during the 1990s he pledged $200,000 and offered to raise money from friends in exchange for being named the parade’s grand marshal.
President Trump is a lifelong New Yorker but recently changed his official residence to Florida, complaining about his treatment by the heavily Democratic city’s elected officials.