President Trump Delivers Commencement Address at West Point
President Donald J. Trump delivered the commencement address for the West Point Military Academy's graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 13. The socially-distanced graduation had the 1,107 graduating cadets seated eight-feet apart from one another.
"Few words in the English language and few places in history have commanded as much awe and admiration as West Point," Trump told graduates. "This premier military academy produces on the best of the best, the strongest of the strong and the bravest of the brave."
The ceremony marked Trump's first visit to West Point as a graduation speaker.
Following the president's address, cadets were individually announced at the podium. The graduates stood on a small stage a distance from the president and saluted him, at which point he returned the salute. Diplomas were not handed out as part of the academy's protective coronavirus measures.
West Point's campus closed in March as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country. New York was at the epicenter of the initial outbreak and Orange County, where West Point is located, has seen over 10,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
The military institution planned extensively to bring back graduating cadets for the commencement ceremony so as to minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to an article on the U.S. Army website.
Fifteen students initially tested positive when test upon their return to campus, the New York Times reports. They were isolated for two weeks and tested negative in time to participate in Saturday's graduation activities.