National Security

Trump Touts Strength of U.S. Military in Naval Academy Commencement Address

President Donald Trump on Friday delivered the commencement address for more than 1,000 graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy, congratulating them on joining the "most powerful and righteous force on the planet, the United States military."

"To the men and women about to be commissioned as ensigns in the Navy and second lieutenants in the Marine Corps, let me say on behalf of the entire nation, we could not be more proud of the United States Naval Academy class of 2018," Trump said before approximately 30,000 people at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. "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 spoke for about 34 minutes, spending much of his time praising the military.

"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," Trump said. "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 also highlighted his efforts to rebuild the U.S. armed forces, calling the military "the greatest fighting force for peace, justice, and freedom in the history of the world."

"In case you haven't noticed, we have become a lot stronger lately," 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."

"Yes, they are respecting us again. Yes, America is back," Trump added.

The president also noted the $700 billion in defense approved by Congress this year.

"No money for the military? Those days are over," Trump said.

In a lighter moment of his address, Trump ordered the Naval Academy's superintendent to absolve all midshipmen who received minor demerits.

"Others worked hard for their demerits at McGarvey's [a local bar] and the Fleet Reserve Club," Trump said. "And so today, in keeping with tradition, I declare that all midshipmen on restriction for minor offenses, you are hereby absolved!"

"It sounds like a lot of people," Trump said of the loud applause after his declaration. "The admiral will define exactly what that means, so admiral, please go easy. Please, OK? Please go easy. It's a great group of people here, admiral."

Trump also reminded the graduating class of the footsteps they follow, those of heroes of wars past and present, and told them never to quit.

"You live your life by the final law of the Navy—the word ‘impossible' does not exist because Navy never quits!" Trump said. "You don't give up, you don't give in, you don't back down, and you never surrender. Wherever you go, wherever you serve, wherever your mission takes you, you only have one word in mind, and that's ‘victory.'"