Donald Trump addressed the graduating class at the U.S. Naval Academy on Friday and made a speech that had echoes of Ronald Reagan’s patriotic fervor.
“Together there is nothing Americans can’t do, absolutely nothing,” Trump told 2018 graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy. “In recent years, and even decades, too many people have forgotten that truth. They’ve forgotten that our ancestors trounced an empire, tamed a continent, and triumphed over the worst evils in history.”
He added: “America is the greatest fighting force for peace, justice and freedom in the history of the world. We have become a lot stronger lately. We are not going to apologize for America. We are going to stand up for America.”
Trump’s speech was Reaganesque in tone and evoked the very best sentiments of American patriotism.
“We are not going to apologize for America, we are going to stand up for America — no more apologies,” he said in his address to graduates. “We are going to stand up for our citizens, stand up for our values and stand up for our men and women in uniform.”
Two graduates of Annapolis penned an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun, calling the president a “physical coward.” The grads related several stories of heroism and courage by academy graduates:
Contrast this to the personal and professional honor of the sitting president of the United States, who time and again makes small choices guided by self-interest, ego, impulse and immediate self-gratification. He could never do what we ask our U.S. Naval Academy graduates to do. He is a physical coward, a liar and no leader at all.
It is right and fitting that the president of the United States give a commencement address to a service academy’s graduating class. It is also right and fitting that citizens of the democracy for which these graduates will soon be charged with protecting point out the personal cowardice, narcissism and incompetency of the current president.
Trump may be all those things, but a physical coward? The graduates told the story of James Stockdale, a POW during the Vietnam War and later, an admiral:
In 1969, after having already been held hostage for four years, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy faced a lonely choice in a North Vietnamese prison camp: how to prevent his captors from using him in a propaganda piece. James Stockdale chose to smash his own face in with a stool rather than give “aid and comfort” to the enemy.
Was it physical courage that possessed Stockdale to smash his own face in? Or was he mentally unbalanced after four years of enduring the hell of North Vietnamese captivity? How do the authors know?
Many other POWs broke and gave the North Vietnamese what they wanted. Were they also “physical cowards” because they broke under torture?
The problem with calling the president a coward is that no one knows how he would react in similar situations. Trump has never faced a situation where his physical courage has been tested. It is a gratuitous slander to call the president a coward based on nothing more than political bias or personal dislike.
In fact, the most heroic acts in American history have come from the most ordinary people imaginable who no one would ever conceive beforehand of being a “hero.” Read the citations for Medal of Honor recipients. Almost all of them were regular Americans from ordinary circumstances. No one could have predicted their heroism.
The Sun op-ed was a hit piece and not worthy of graduates of the Naval Academy.
Watch the president’s remarks below: