News & Politics

Commencement Speakers at Multiple Colleges Trash Trump, Miss Point

You won’t find a full-throated defense of Donald Trump here. Not even a whisper.

This Republican can do without the lies, the misdirection, the word-salad arguments and the black hole in his platform where conservative values should be.

It’s still inappropriate to trash Trump in certain places. And a collegiate commencement speech certainly qualifies.

That’s not stopping some rather big names from doing just that. They’re turning a magical moment in the lives of college students into their personal, petty platform.

First up is Ken Burns, the name synonymous with world-class documentaries. His liberal politics are well known, but his projects typically eschew overt talking points in favor of history. Simply put, he’s among the very best at what he does.

So it was disheartening to hear him turn his comments before students at Stanford University June 12 into a protracted stump speech.

For 216 years, our elections, though bitterly contested, have featured the philosophies and character of candidates who were clearly qualified … That is not the case this year. One is glaringly not qualified.

And so it went for seven straight minutes.

Burns didn’t name Trump directly, but everyone understood the target of his attacks. This wasn’t “Real Time with Bill Maher,” mind you, a forum where such views are accepted and encouraged.

Next page: Find out who else trashed Trump in their commencement addresses. 

Burns wasn’t alone.

Oscar winner Matt Damon also slammed Trump while addressing students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology June 3.

The star of “The Martian” took a tech-friendly approach to the speech, exploring the notion that our world is merely a computer simulation conjured up by an alien species.

“If there are multiple simulations, how come we have to be in the one where Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee for president? Can we transfer to a different one?” he asked.

Even the first lady got into the act. Michelle Obama should know better than to inject partisan politics into a graduation speech. First ladies typically sound a more healing, less divisive note in their public addresses.

Not Michelle Obama.

Here in America, we don’t give in to our fears, we don’t build up walls to keep people out, because we know that our greatness has always depending on contributions from people who were born elsewhere but sought out this country and made it their home.

It was just one part of her multi-pronged attack on the GOP presidential hopeful.

Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame also torched Trump while giving the commencement speech at the University of Pennsylvania.

“In a year where politicians traffic in anti-immigrant rhetoric,” Miranda said, “there is also a Broadway musical reminding us that a broke, orphan immigrant from the West Indies built our financial system, a story that reminds us that since the beginning of the great unfinished symphony that is our American experiment, time and time again, immigrants get the job done.”

Liberals too often look past decorum when it comes to spreading their views. They take charge of any podium available to attack their opponents.

Open debate is fine. Criticism of Trump is more than appropriate. Using a college commencement address to slap Trump isn’t just in poor taste. It’s unfair to the students hoping for the speech to launch their professional careers.