A 93-year-old D-Day veteran flirted Wednesday with first lady Melania Trump at a reception in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.
Video from the event captured a brief exchange between the Trumps and Thomas Cuthbert, a veteran from Elmstead Market, Essex.
“It’s my honor, believe me, thank you very much,” the president said as he shook Cuthbert’s hand. “We fought well together.”
Cuthbert nodded toward Melania, asking, “And this is your wife?”
Trump said yes, to which Cuthbert replied, “If only I was 20 years younger.”
Melania laughed as Trump responded with a smile, “You can handle it, no question about that.”
Cuthbert later told reporters that his impression of Trump in person was very different from what he had seen on television. “He surprised me, [compared to] when you see someone on the TV but he seemed different, he seemed one of the boys,” Cuthbert said. “His wife was very pleasant as well.”
Several others also noted how different he was from the way he was often portrayed on television and that the president seemed genuinely glad to be with them.
“I was very surprised, he spoke very quietly, I wasn’t expecting that,” said Joan Berfield, who worked as a coder during the war. She said that Trump had also wished her a happy birthday (she will be 95 on June 7) and was very interested in what she had done.
“So you were well ahead of your time,” Trump told her. “Coder, that’s pretty sound, that means very smart. Great to meet you.”
Another British veteran said that meeting the president “completely changed my mind of him.” Ted Cordery, 95, said the Trump emphasized the role that British service members had played on D-Day when they met.
“He said ‘you guys did a great job’ but I said it wasn’t only us – your country did it as well. We shook hands and he said ‘delighted to meet you.’ It has completely changed my mind of him,” Cordery said.