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Trump to speak at Air Force Academy commencement

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump prepare to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on April 24, 2019.

EVAN VUCCI/AP

By JUSTIN WINGERTER | The Denver Post | Published: April 25, 2019

DENVER (Tribune News Service) — President Donald Trump will speak at an Air Force Academy commencement May 30, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday.

It’s not yet known when, or if, tickets to the speech will be available to the public, the Air Force Academy’s public information office said. A determination on that will be made in May.

Tens of thousands of spectators could attend the ceremony, which is a popular stop for presidents. The last to speak at the academy’s commencement was Barack Obama in 2016.

“Take care of each other,” Obama told cadets then. “Take care of those under your command. And as long as you keep strong that long blue line, stay true to the values you’ve learned here — integrity, service before self, excellence — do this and I’m confident that we will always remain one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Trump visited Colorado Springs during the 2016 presidential campaign. Announcement of his address comes at a time when Colorado Springs is competing to be the headquarters of U.S. Space Command. Three of the six bases under consideration are in the Colorado Springs area, with another in Aurora. The other two are in Alabama and California.

If the president makes an announcement regarding Space Command, he would hardly be the first president to break news at the academy. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy used his commencement speech there to call for the development of supersonic civilian aircraft.

“Last October’s crisis in the Caribbean amply demonstrated that military policy and power cannot and must not be separated from political and diplomatic decisions,” Kennedy said of the Cuban Missile Crisis. “Whatever the military motives and implications of the reckless attempt to put missiles on the island of Cuba, the political and psychological implications were equally important.”

In 1969, President Richard Nixon gave a far more aggressive speech, a bombastic template that Trump may be more inclined to follow. Nixon addressed protests against the Vietnam War.

“It is open season on the armed forces,” Nixon told the cadets in Colorado Springs. “Military programs are ridiculed as needless, if not deliberate waste. The military profession is derided in some of the so-called best circles of America. Patriotism is considered by some to be a backward fetish of the uneducated and the unsophisticated. Nationalism is hailed and applauded as a panacea for the ills of every nation — except the United States of America.”

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