KISS front man Gene Simmons paid a surprise visit to the White House and Pentagon briefing room on Thursday.
The rock star choked up several times during his brief remarks to Pentagon staffers, who had been made aware of his visit.
Standing behind the Pentagon lectern, he grew emotional as he shared personal stories about his respect for those who serve in uniform and his deceased mother. He said that his mother, a Holocaust survivor, would always express her gratitude for being able to live in America.
Simmons later posed with the military and civilian fans who had gathered in the briefing room during his visit.
The Defense Department has faced criticism for not holding on-camera briefings. The lack of briefings has become more noticeable as tensions rise between the United States and Iran. As of Thursday, it has been 350 days since a Pentagon spokesperson briefed the media, but two celebrities have made appearances.
Last fall, actor Gerard Butler came to the Pentagon briefing room as part of a briefing arranged by the Navy to highlight the military service's assistance with his Navy submarine movie, "Hunter Killer."
During a visit later in the day to the White House, Simmons, dressed in black leather and oversized shades, shrugged when reporters asked if he planned to meet with President Donald Trump.
Gene Simmons of KISS in an all-leather suit waiting for POTUS departure 😛 pic.twitter.com/6M1xkgLZic— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) May 16, 2019
Simmons has frequently expressed his opinion of the president. In 2017 Simmons told the Rolling Stone he believes that "you have to respect the presidency" whether "somebody likes it or not."
In 2018 he told the Toronto Sun that he thinks Trump will be re-elected in a "landslide" if there are no "more big wars and if the Dow approaches 29,000."