After delivering the commencement address at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on Friday, President Donald Trump chose to stay and shake the hands of all the over 1,000 graduates of the prestigious school.
“I was given an option. I could make this commencement address, which is a great honor for me, and immediately leave and wave goodbye,” the commander-in-chief recounted. “Or I could stay and shake hands with just the top 100. Or I could stay for hours and shake hands with 1,100 and something. What should I do? What should I do?” he asked.
Midshipmen responded with shouts of “Stay.”
“I’ll stay,” he exclaimed to applause. “I’ll stay!”
A spokesman for the Naval Academy said the exact number of graduates from the class of 2018 is 1,042, The Washington Examiner reported.
During his address, Trump lauded the choice the soon to be commissioned officers made in deciding to serve their country.
“Congratulations to you all,” Trump said. “Four years ago, each of you made the most important decision of your lives. You chose the path of hard work, sweat and sacrifice. You chose the life of honor, courage and commitment. You chose to serve the nation and defend our great American flag.”
“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,” he told them.
“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,” Trump said.
The president highlighted the different branches of service the graduates have chosen, including approximately 280 naval aviators, 250 surface warfare officers, 130 submariners, 235 Marines, and 35 SEALs, among other fields.
On behalf of the American People, CONGRATULATIONS! We love you! https://t.co/YRlj0vRXwk
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018
Trump told the graduates they are entering military service during a time when the U.S. is strengthening its defenses, citing the end of sequestration and the recently passed $700 billion defense budget.
“And in case you have not noticed, we have become a lot stronger lately. A lot,” he said. “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,” the president stated, drawing hearty applause from the audience.
Trump proclaimed, “Yes, America is back.”
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