President Joe Biden told the graduating class at the Coast Guard Academy to stand, turn around and salute their parents during his commencement address Wednesday.
Wednesday’s speech was Biden’s first commencement address to a military academy since gaining office. (RELATED: Biden’s Families Plan Would Cause Negative Economic Growth, Analysis Shows)
“I want to thank your parents and family to support everything you have done. And those watching online as well. You can’t all be here,” Biden said. “You were the ones who first installed in them a sense of service. For them to hear a call of duty. It’s your day, too.”
“I want to thank your parents and family to support everything you have done. And those watching online as well. You can’t all be here,” Biden said. “You were the ones who first installed in them a sense of service. Who helped them hear the calling of a higher duty. So it’s your day, too.”
Biden tells cadets to turn around and give a salute to their parents. pic.twitter.com/qFr6mb5MzH
— Julia Bergman (@JuliaSBergman) May 19, 2021
Honoring parents wasn’t the only notable moment from Biden’s speech, however. He also jabbed at the graduates as “dull” after they failed to applaud for one of his applause lines. Biden referenced the description of the Coast Guard as “that hard nucleus around which the Navy forms in time of war,” though he fumbled with the quote. When the audience met the line with silence, the president jokingly rebuked them.
Biden appears peeved at the lack of applause from Navy cadets.
“You are a really dull class. Come on, man. Is the sun getting to you? I would think you’d have an opportunity when I say that about the Navy to clap — to be here together …” pic.twitter.com/OFuXYiL4s5
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 19, 2021
The quote is a longstanding saying within the Coast Guard, but its origins are unclear. President Ronald Reagan referenced the quote in an address to the National Guard Academy in 1988, but he did not use it as an applause line.
Notably, former Vice President Dick Cheney made the same reference when he delivered the commencement speech to the National Guard Academy in 2008, and he did receive applause.
“There’s a saying in your line of work — that the U.S. Coast Guard is the ‘hard nucleus about which the Navy forms in time of war,’” Cheney said, pausing for applause according to a transcript. “I’m not sure what the Navy thinks of that.”