On Saturday President Donald Trump gave a commencement speech for the 2020 graduating class of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Trump spoke for the graduating class of 1,107 cadets, sat in six foot intervals to maintain social distancing measures necessitated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The White House shared a transcript of Trump’s full remarks Saturday.
“Few words in the English language and few places in history have commanded as much awe and admiration as ‘West Point,'” Trump began his speech. “This premiere military academy produces only the best of the best, the strongest of the strong and the bravest of the brave. West Point is a universal symbol of American gallantry, loyalty, devotion, discipline and great skill.”
“Across this hallowed plain have passed many of the greatest and most fearsome soldiers that ever lived. They were heroes who drove thundering columns of Sherman tanks into the heart of a wicked empire,” Trump continued. “They were legends who unleashed the fury of American artillery upon our enemies on remote islands and distant shores. They were titans who strode through cannon blast and cavalry charge, and stared down our foes through gray clouds of smoke and shrapnel.
“They were the Army Rangers who led the way up jagged cliffs, the Airborne soldiers who rained down justice in the dark of night, the infantry whose very sight meant liberation was near, and the mighty forces who sent tyrants, terrorists, and sadistic monsters running scared through the gates of hell. No evil force on Earth can match the noble power and righteous glory of the American warrior.”
As Trump continued his remarks he thanked the graduates for offering their service to the nation.
“I am here to offer America’s salute. Thank you for answering your nation’s call,” he said.
Trump went on to thank all branches of the military in joining the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic. He continued to thank the members of the National Guard who recently deployed to cities around the country to respond to civil unrest following the death of George Floyd.
Further along in his speech, Trump alluded to changes in America’s military stance around the world.
“Each of you begins your career in the Army at a crucial moment in American history,” Trump said. “We are restoring the fundamental principles, that the job of the American soldier is not to rebuild foreign nations but defend—and defend strongly—our nation from foreign enemies.”
“We are restoring the fundamental principles that the job of the American soldier is not to rebuild foreign nations, but defend—and defend strongly—our nation from foreign enemies.” pic.twitter.com/iHP1TYaIfT
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 13, 2020
Trump made that pronouncement amid recent moves to withdraw troops from Iraq and Germany. The U.S. has also been in the process of withdrawing from Afghanistan and Trump recently nominated retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, a critic of the war in Afghanistan.
“It is not the duty of the US troops to solve ancient conflicts in far away lands that many people have never even heard of. We are not the policemen of the world,” Trump continued his remarks. “But let our enemies be on notice, if our people are threatened we will never ever hesitate to act and when we fight, from now on, we will only fight to win. As [Gen. Douglas MacArthur] said, ‘in war, there is no substitute for victory.'”
Trump went on to tout his administration’s efforts to increase military funding.
“After years of devastating budget cuts, and a military that was totally depleted from these endless wars, we have invested over two trillion, trillion, that’s with a ‘T’ dollars in the most powerful fighting force by far on the planet earth.”
“Congratulations to #USMA2020! Good luck on your future endeavors as leaders of character. #LongGrayLine #WithVisionWeLead#CallToServe,” West Point tweeted following the graduation ceremony.
Congratulations to #USMA2020! Good luck on your future endeavors as leaders of character. #LongGrayLine #WithVisionWeLead#CallToServe pic.twitter.com/usnuqQPJkR
— U.S. Military Academy at West Point (@WestPoint_USMA) June 13, 2020