Trump commencement speech bringing 1,000 cadets back to West Point

President Trump’s commencement speech is slated to bring 1,000 cadets back to the West Point campus in suburban New York in June. 

According to The New York Times, officials at the military academy had not yet finalized plans for the graduation ceremony when Trump announced last Saturday he would be speaking there.

Trump’s announcement has led the school to summon 1,000 cadets back to campus amid shutdowns and domestic travel restrictions. The graduation was originally scheduled for May 23 and moved to June 13.

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“He’s the commander in chief, that’s his call,” Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate and former chairwoman of the academy’s Board of Visitors, told the Times. “Cadets are certainly excited about the opportunity to have something like the classic graduation, standing together, flinging their hats in the air."

"But everyone is leery about bringing 1,000 cadets into the New York metropolitan area for a ceremony," she added to the newspaper. "It’s definitely a risk."

White House officials maintained that it had been a longstanding plan for Trump to address students in a commencement speech in late May and that the president had left it up to the school to decide whether it was safe to move ahead with a graduation ceremony in June.

Vice President Pence spoke last Saturday at the Air Force Academy, which held its graduation ceremony while imposing social distancing measures. The Naval Academy opted to host a virtual graduation.

Trump announced on the eve of Pence's trip that he would be delivering his own commencement address at West Point.

The president spoke at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2017 and delivered the commencement address at the Naval Academy in 2018. Last year, he spoke at the Air Force Academy ceremony, where he stayed and shook hands with each of the nearly 1,000 graduates.