President Donald Trump heralded more than 1,000 newly-commissioned US Navy and Marine Corps officers on Friday for becoming “leaders in the most powerful and righteous force on the planet” as he delivered the commencement address at the US Naval Academy.
“Together you are the tip of the spear, the edge of the blade and the front of the shield defending and protecting our great country,” Trump said. “You know there is no mission our pilots can’t handle. There is no hill our marines can’t take and there is no stronghold the SEALs can’t breach. There is no sea the Navy can’t brave and there is no storm the American sailor can’t conquer. You know that together there is nothing Americans can’t do. Absolutely nothing.”
The President was warmly received at the Academy, where graduates and their families gathered at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Trump arrived at the stadium after his helicopter circled it, a flyover that was followed early in the ceremony by another from the Blue Angels squadron.
He also used the speech to highlight his own efforts to boost US defense spending, touting what he called a “great rebuilding of the United States military.”
He pointed to boosts to US military pay, the near-completion of the US’ largest aircraft carrier and the building of new US submarines.
“In case you haven’t noticed, we have become a lot stronger lately,” Trump said.
His speech came a day after he kicked up fears of ratcheting tensions on the Korean peninsula for canceling a diplomatic summit with North Korea’s leader scheduled for next month.
But the President, addressing reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the Naval Academy, made clear the door to diplomacy remains open – cooling fears that the scuttled summit could mean a return to the saber-rattling that has defined the US-North Korean relationship for much of Trump’s presidency.
“We’re talking to them now,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens. It could even be the 12th (of June). We’re talking to them now.”
The President also credited himself during the commencement speech for a shift in US posture around the globe, vowing “no more apologies” on the world stage.
“We are not going to apologize for America, we are going to stand up for America. No more apologies. We are going to stand up for our citizens, we are going to stand up for our values and we are going to stand up for our men and women in uniform,” Trump said. “Yes, they are respecting us again. Yes, America is back.”
Trump also touted victory as a paramount virtue during his speech, calling it “a very important word.”
“Winning is such a great feeling isn’t it? Nothing like winning,” Trump said.