Trump agrees to bring 101-year-old war veteran on Air Force One flight

President tells veteran who asked for special trip, 'We'll work that out ... you'll like Air Force One'

Chris Riotta
New York
Thursday 11 April 2019 22:38 BST
Donald Trump boards Air Force One with paper stuck to his shoe

Donald Trump has agreed to take a 101-year-old military veteran for a trip on Air Force One.

Paul Wigfield, a World War II veteran, told the president about his experience on Utah Beach in June of 1944, saying, “I was there half a month before I got wounded.”

“Night and day on the battlefield,” he added, describing the historic event known as D-Day in which the Allied Forces invaded northern France and sparked the months-long Battle of Normandy.

Mr Wigfield, who would be joining White House officials in June as they celebrate the 75-year anniversary of D-Day, then asked Mr Trump if he could fly on the president’s plane back to Washington after the event.

“We’ll work that out,” Mr Trump said, adding, “You’ll like Air Force One.”

Mr Wigfield joined a group of veterans Thursday who met Mr Trump at the White House for a public meeting.

The president joked with three of the four veterans who were all above the age of 100-years-old, saying “You don’t look a day over 90.”

He also listened as the veterans shared wartime stories, injecting comments like “that was a great victory” and “we knew how to win wars.”

“This is a special moment,” he said to the veterans, shaking their hands from behind the resolute desk in the Oval Office.

The White House visit arrived two days after he issued a proclamation declaring 9 April the National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, in which he honoured war heroes on Twitter and in public statements that hailed such Americans as “true patriots.”

The declaration sparked backlash from critics who pointed out his past comments attacking the late Senator John McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

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“He was captured," Mr Trump said in a 1999 interview. "Does being captured make you a hero? I don't know. I'm not sure."

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