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Trump to speak at Naval Academy commencement

Newly commissioned Navy Ensigns and Marine 2nd Lieutenants from the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2016 throw their midshipmen covers in the air at the end of their graduation and commissioning ceremony May 27, 2016 at the Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium.

JONATHAN L. CORREA/U.S. NAVY PHOTO

By DANIELLE OHL AND RACHAEL PACELLA | The Capital (Tribune News Service) | Published: April 19, 2018

President Donald Trump will speak at the Naval Academy commissioning ceremony next month in Annapolis, Md., city officials confirmed Wednesday.

It will be Trump’s first time speaking to the academy’s graduating class, as last year Vice President Mike Pence gave the address. Graduation will be at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at 10 a.m. May 25 with a Blue Angels fly-over to begin the ceremony.

The City of Annapolis will be cooperating with the secret service to provide security for Trump’s visit, said Susan O’Brien, city spokeswoman.

The city is not yet confirming which roads will be closed for the president’s visit. They will release a full schedule of traffic changes closer to the commencement date, said Cpl. Amy Miguez, police spokeswoman.

Trump did not attend last year’s commissioning ceremony, as he was in Sicily for the Group of Seven summit. This broke with precedent both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama set in their first years in office. Trump instead spoke to the graduating cadets at the Coast Guard Academy the week before.

Pence told the graduating class Trump is the "best friend the armed forces of the United States will ever have."

In January, graduating seniors who are going to serve in the Surface Warfare Community selected the ship they will serve on.

At a news conference on March 23, following the signing of the omnibus spending bill, Trump said $23.8 billion has been set aside to procure 34 new Navy ships.

"Our Navy is at about the lowest point in terms of ships that it’s been in over 100 years," Trump said. "And we’re adding a significant number of extremely advanced vessels."

The president’s ties to the Naval Academy include Carter Page, a former campaign foreign policy adviser, who is an academy graduate and a Trident Scholar. Page was the subject of federal wiretaps in 2013 and 2016 for his connections to Russian spy Victor Podobnyy.

In February, Trump announced three appointments to the Academy's Board of Visitors, including Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, his appointed physician. Jackson has also been nominated by Trump to lead the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, a critic of Trump, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958. McCain received the Distinguished Graduate Award from the Academy’s Alumni Association last month. Vice President Joe Biden accepted the award for McCain, who was diagnosed last summer with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

McCain gave a speech to the Brigade of Midshipmen Oct. 30. “We are asleep in our echo chambers, where our views are always affirmed, and information that contradicts them is always fake,” McCain said.

Though he never mentioned Trump by name, he discussed the Russia investigation, and said he had no doubts that Russia tried to interfere.

“I’ve seen these scandals before, and it’s a centipede. Every few days another shoe drops,” McCain said.

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©2018 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)
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