It has been a recent tradition for first-year presidents (or vice-presidents) to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. George W. Bush spoke there in 2001, Obama in 2009, and Vice President Pence in 2017.
But Joe Biden, who was invited to speak this year, bailed after 4,300 “members of the Notre Dame community” signed a petition urging Fr. John Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, to not invite Biden over his pro-abortion positions.
Joe Biden has claimed he’s talked tough with Russia Vladimir Putin, but when it came to facing a bunch of college students and their families, he hid behind an alleged scheduling conflict. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the petition or the fact that Obama’s appearance in 2009 resulted in similar backlash.
The petition argued that Biden should neither speak at the commencement ceremony nor be awarded an honorary degree because of his “pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda.”
“He rejects Church teachings on abortion, marriage, sex and gender and is hostile to religious liberty. He embraces the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history. The case against honoring him is immeasurably stronger than it was against honoring President Obama,” the petition read.
In 2009, Barack Obama was still publicly opposed to same-sex marriage, and much of his radical social agenda hadn’t been attempted yet.
Kamala Harris will not be speaking in his stead, which makes sense—and it is not clear whether she was even invited. Jimmy Dunne, finance executive and a trustee of the university, will be speaking at the commencement.