Donald Trump has been accused of “disgraceful” behaviour and acting like a “toddler President” after a seemingly-jovial rendition of the US national anthem in honour of fallen service members.
The President was attending the normally-sombre Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery, where he addressed some of the families of those killed in action.
But during the national anthem Trump appeared to be cheerfully bouncing around in stark contrast to the still and sombre-looking Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, and Defence Secretary, James Mattis.
The rendition drew sharp criticism from many people.
At a wider level the mere presence of Trump at the Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony was enough to stir emotions.
The President dodged being drafted into the armed forces five times in his youth - four for college and one for “bone spurs” on his heels.
The condition did not stop him from participating in American football, tennis, squash and golf.
Trump’s behaviour during the election campaign was also raised.
Stepping to the microphone to deliver the address, Trump seemed to relish the warm welcome from the audience gathered in the sun-splashed amphitheater, reports the Associated Press.
Trump has been feeling particularly aggrieved in recent weeks by federal and congressional investigations into contacts between his associates and Russian government officials, including news reports that Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and top White House adviser, proposed establishing secret back-channel communications with Russia during the presidential transition.
To all Gold Star families (the families of those killed in action), Trump said of their lost service members: “They each had their own names, their own stories, their own beautiful dreams. But they were all angels sent to us by God and they all share one title in common and that is the title of hero, real heroes.
“Though they were here only a brief time before God called them home, their legacy will endure forever,” Trump said.
Trump did not apologise to Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq in 2004.
Speaking in July last year about Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from the US, Khizr said: “Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America.
“You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
Trump responded in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in which he implied Ghazala had not spoken at the DNC because, as a Muslim woman, “she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say”.
He then suggested his personal business ventures were a sacrifice on a level with that given by fallen soldiers.