WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday greeted the families of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan a day earlier, the third such visit he has made to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to honor the dead and comfort their relatives.
At the last minute, the president invited the actor Jon Voight, an outspoken Trump supporter, to accompany him and the first lady, Melania Trump, to witness the solemn ritual of transferring the metal cases holding the remains from a plane that brought them back to the United States.
The two Army soldiers, David C. Knadle of Tarrant, Texas, and Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr. of Keaau, Hawaii, chief warrant officer 2s, were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, Defense Department officials said.
Mr. Trump and Mrs. Trump met privately with family members of the fallen. During a brief ceremony, the president and first lady stood in silence as soldiers carried the two metal cases from a cargo hold into a waiting van.
The president gave a crisp salute each time a case was moved.
In recent public statements, Mr. Trump has repeatedly pointed to the human cost of wars that have continued under his administration to describe his opposition to foreign interventions.
At times, he has spoken in graphic terms, describing seeing families screaming in anguish.
“The hardest thing I have to do, by far, much harder than the witch hunt, is signing letters to parents of soldiers that have been killed,” he said last month.
The president did not address reporters as he left the air base, or when he returned to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington.
Asked about his presence, Mr. Voight said that he had been invited that day during the medal ceremony honoring his contribution to the arts.
“He said ‘If you’d like to come, you can come,’” Mr. Voight recalled. “There was no intention of meeting the families or any of that.”
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