Washington           -         US President Donald Trump, who turned 74 on Sunday, blamed a “very slippery ramp” for his  unsteady appearance at West Point after delivering the commencement address to graduating cadets. Trump made light of the incident in a tweet late Saturday after the ceremony earlier in the day at the US Military Academy, the US Army’s premier officer training school. A video in which he appeared wobbly and unsteady made the rounds of social media, drawing mockery and criticism.

“The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery,” Trump said. “The last thing I was going to do is ‘fall’ for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!” Trump spoke from a reviewing stand before the more than one thousand freshly minted second lieutenants of the academy’s class of 2020, who sat evenly spaced out on the field below.

The West Point address came at a fraught moment in Trump’s presidency, amid tensions with the military leadership, racial strife, and a nationwide struggle to recover from an as yet unresolved coronavirus pandemic that has thrown millions out of work.

He made no direct mention in the speech of the racial turmoil that has swept the country since the killing in Minnesota on May 25 of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer.

Nor did he allude to the dissent within the military over his threat to use active-duty troops to quell civil unrest in US cities over racism and police brutality.