President Biden will deliver the keynote address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday, making it his first speech at a service academy since becoming president in January.
“We are honored to host the commander in chief as we celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2021, the future leaders of the U.S. Coast Guard,” Rear Adm. Bill Kelly, the academy’s superintendent, said in a statement earlier this month. “It will be a memorable event for our community, as well as a great opportunity to showcase the Academy and the city of New London on a national stage.”
Mr. Biden’s commencement speech comes more than a month after he announced that he would pull all American troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11. Mr. Biden said there was no longer any justification to believe that the United States military presence could turn Afghanistan into a stable democracy.
The ceremony, which is set to start at 11 a.m., will not be open to the public. The number of guests will be reduced and social distancing measures will be in place, though fully vaccinated attendees do not need to wear a mask, David M. Santos, an academy spokesman, said in an email.
It will be the second time Mr. Biden has addressed the academy’s graduating class. He last gave the keynote address in 2013 as vice president.
“You’re graduating into a world that is rapidly changing,” Mr. Biden said at the time, pointing to environmental security threats and record-high levels of piracy and human trafficking.
A president last addressed the U.S. Coast Guard’s graduating class in 2017, when President Donald J. Trump delivered the commencement speech. Mr. Trump used much of his speech to defend himself, telling attendees that no leader in history had been treated more “unfairly” by the news media and Washington elites.
President Barack Obama gave the academy’s commencement address twice, in 2011 and 2015. He used the speech in 2015 to push for his climate-change agenda, calling it “an immediate risk to our national security.”
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