By JORDYN PHELPS and BEN GITTLESON, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Trump broke a five-day stretch of no public appearances when he left the White House for a Veterans Day observance event on Wednesday.
In pouring rain, he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
Forgoing an umbrella, Trump, joined by Vice President Pence and VA Secretary Wilkie, stood solemnly before the wreath – the president saluting — as Taps was played.
The president at one point approached by himself, reaching out and touching the wreath for a moment.
He did not make remarks, departing immediately after the brief ceremony that lasted just a few minutes.
First lady Melania Trump and second Lady Karen Pence were also present for the ceremony but walked separately under the cover of umbrellas, escorted by masked military escorts.
The president, who was playing at his Virginia golf course when Joe Biden surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to be projected the winner on Saturday, has maintained an uncharacteristically quiet public posture since, with a schedule devoid of public events, while refusing to concede.
While a Marine was seen posted outside the West Wing for at least part of the day on Monday and Tuesday, indicating that the president was in the Oval Office, there was scant evidence otherwise of what was consuming the president’s day, other than activity on his Twitter account that included a surprise announcement of his Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday.
Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere, asked by ABC News on Tuesday evening what the president had spent his day doing, said the president was hard at work.
“Just as he promised, President Trump is fighting hard for a free and fair election while at the same time carrying out all of his duties to put America First,” Deere said in a statement. “He’s also working to advance meaningful economic stimulus, engaging members of Congress on a government funding proposal, and ensuring state and local governments have what they need to respond to the ongoing pandemic.”
The White House has provided no details of any meetings or calls Trump may have held. Also uncharacteristically, the president has conducted few media interviews.
The president’s silence comes at time that the United States is setting new records for new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. The president’s only tweets related to the coronavirus have been to celebrate the news that a vaccine developed by Pfizer has shown to be more than 90 percent effective in early phase three clinical trials, as he offered a contradictory message in both trying to assume partial credit for the scientific advance while also voicing a baseless conspiracy theory that the announcement was delayed until after the election to the disadvantage of his campaign.
While his top deputies like economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro frequently emerge from the White House for television interviews, they and other advisers have avoided cameras in the days since the election was called.
While the president has shirked the public spotlight in light of his defeat, he has instead persisted in making baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud and has falsely asserted that he won the election through a series of social media posts.
His White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, has made no appearances in her official role, instead speaking to reporters away from the White House. Describing herself as a campaign adviser, she has leveled the same baseless allegations of fraud, many of which have been debunked.
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