After closing down and sending students home due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Military Academy at West Point is being forced to bring back 1,000 cadets to its campus in New York — an epicenter for the virus — so President Donald Trump can deliver a commencement address.
The New York Times reported Friday that West Point had postponed its commencement, and school officials were unsure whether to hold one, before Trump announced that he would be speaking there.
From the NYT: And so last Friday, the day before Mr. Pence was to speak at the Air Force ceremony in Colorado, Mr. Trump, never one to be upstaged, abruptly announced that he would, in fact, be speaking at West Point. That was news to everyone, including officials at West Point, according to three people involved with or briefed on the event. The academy had been looking at the option of a delayed presidential commencement in June, but had yet to complete any plans. With Mr. Trump’s pre-emptive statement, they are now summoning 1,000 cadets scattered across the country to return to campus in New York, the state that is the center of the outbreak. “He’s the commander in chief, that’s his call,” said Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate and former chairwoman of the academy’s Board of Visitors. “Cadets are certainly excited about the opportunity to have something like the classic graduation, standing together, flinging their hats in the air. But everyone is leery about bringing 1,000 cadets into the New York metropolitan area for a ceremony. It’s definitely a risk.”
The ceremony is now set for June 13.
Read the NYT’s full story here.