President Trump delivered the commencement speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation on Thursday before he decided to shake the hand of all graduates — close to 1,000 of them.
He greeted the graduates in his remarks, saying, “Most of all, to the nearly 1,000 cadets, who I have agreed to shake every, single hand.”
“They gave me a choice. They said, ‘sir, you don’t have to shake any hands, some people do that. Those are the smart ones, they’re out of here,” he began jokingly. “You can shake one hand, to the one person, top of the class. You can shake 10, 50 or 100, and you could also stay for 1,000. And I’m staying for 1,000, OK,” he said.
At the ceremony, Trump greeted every single cadet with a military salute and a handshake, except for those who opted for the “bump” instead. The task took more than one hour and 20 minutes to complete, as seen in the video below:
The President told the graduates, “To dominate the future, America must rule the skies. And that is what your time at this great academy has been all about – preparing you to do whatever it takes to learn, to adapt and to win, win, win.”
He also said, “Today you take the controls. You’re going to push it up and chart your course across the sky. Keep the wings level and true, because your country is sending you on a vital mission: To defend America, protect our people, and to pursue our nation’s great and glorious destiny.”
He praised the cadets for their hard work, discipline, and perseverance over the past four years.
— Air Force Times (@AirForceTimes) May 30, 2019
Trump said, “You’ve done so many things that nobody else can do, and in the end, you’ve come out on top. You have risen to every challenge, overcome every single obstacle, and proven yourselves worthy of the bars that will soon adorn your uniform.”
He continued, “You soared in gliders, piloted aircraft and launched satellites that are now orbiting way, way above us, looking down on us. You performed advanced research, developed new techniques, you honed your skills as cyber operators, and jumped out of planes thousands of feet above the Earth. Not easy. For America’s airmen, the sky is never, never the limit.”
Daily Mail released a sped-up version of the exchange in the video below:
Trump said to the parents of the cadets, “Thank you for raising rock-ribbed American patriots. America is stronger thanks to your love and support for these incredible people, these incredible graduates. Without them, you wouldn’t be here, and that’s the way it is.”
“You’re gonna win so much, you’re gonna get tired of winning,” he also told the crowd, to their roaring cheers. “Not really. We never get tired of winning. Do we? No?”
After his speech, Trump was gifted a class of 2019 coin, along with a framed painting depicting American fighter jet flying over the Rocky Mountains as a token of their appreciation for his being in attendance.