Trump Looks for Pity During Self-Serving Commencement Speeches

You’ve probably heard quotes from some amazing commencement speeches in the past. One of my favorites is from J.K.Rowling, speaking at Harvard University in 2008: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” In another great speech in 1996, Nora Ephron declared, “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.”

The words from the wise on these occasions are intended to celebrate the successful graduates and impart powerful advice to help them navigate their future.

Donald Trump seems to have taken a different approach. 

On May 17, in a self-serving commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, he declared, “Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.” 

“4 U.S. Presidents Have Been Actually Literally Assassinated”

CNN’s Jake Tapper had the best response to Trump’s words. He highlighted how wrong the message was for the audience of cadets: “These are men and women who will be on the front lines of protecting the homeland. They will be literally in boats in the middle of the night fending off narco traffickers, whomever … And I’m not exactly sure what these people who are about to put their lives on the line are supposed to feel pity about.”

His second reaction was even stronger: “Four U.S. Presidents have been actually literally assassinated and killed, so I think there are presidents who have been treated worse than President Trump has been.”

Trump continued his speech to the Coast Guard graduates by boasting about his border wall, the large tax cuts he has promised, and the “great healthcare bill” the Republican party is working on. Earlier he had boasted of the aircraft carriers that would be built “under budget and ahead of schedule” in his administration.

What does this have to do with congratulating the graduating class and guiding them forward to the future? I’m not sure.

Trump delivered his first commencement address as president just a few days earlier on May 13 at Liberty University, a Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia. In that speech, he also bemoaned how unfair everyone is to him:

“In my short time in Washington I’ve seen firsthand how the system is broken. A small group of failed voices who think they know everything and understand everyone want to tell everybody else how to live and what to do and how to think.”

The funniest response to Trump’s Liberty University speech came from comedian Jimmy Fallon. In a hilarious mash-up, the comedian joked that Trump stole his Liberty University speech from Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde.”

Trump’s two commencement speeches weren’t the only ones that received negative attention. When Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a commencement speech at the historically black Bethune-Cookman University, members of the graduation class booed and turned their backs on her.

That’s because DeVos called Historically Black Colleges and Universities “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.“ When it was pointed out to her that these colleges were founded because they were the only option for students, since other colleges were legally segregated, she was forced to walk back this comment.  

In Trump’s case, he continues to use his reality TV skills (NBC has a lot to answer for) to bolster his self-image and denigrate anyone who disagrees with him. DeVos is supremely ignorant about education and has no business being Secretary of Education.

But what I find most dismaying is Trump’s complete lack of intellectual curiosity, and his pride in spending his hours watching cable TV news, rather than reading anything.

Here’s what he said in an interview with Axios earlier this year on reading: “I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page. That I can tell you.”

But Trump’s anti-intellectual approach doesn’t give him the right to whine and complain to college graduating classes about how so many people, and especially the press, are mistreating him.

A president doesn’t cry in front of a graduating class. Graduation is not about the president; it’s about the graduates, their remarkable achievements and their hopes for the future.

It’s too bad that, once again, Trump failed to serve others by focusing solely on his self-image.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from Guardian online video


Margie FOURIE1 years ago

Poor guy. I never really liked him, but do feel sorry for him.

Deborah W
Deborah W1 years ago

Anyone notice Hillary Clinton's commencement address at Wellesley? Quote: They may even call you a nasty woman. (Reference to Trump's comment made at her during one of their debates.) Who's whining now?

william Miller
william Miller1 years ago


Darlene Buckingham

It is getting closer to Trump being impeached after he returns home and stops promoting Saudi Arabia. That is a big red flag! Hopefully the American people will call for a complete overhaul of the 2 party system that left them with the choice of Clinton and Trump, both who are not fit to be a leader and implement policies that actually do make a difference for the better

Brian F
Brian F1 years ago

This fraud, Trump should remind the audience about his scam university, that he ran, that ripped off students, the 25 million he paid to bury the lawsuit, and how he defrauded people who performed services for him. Based on Trump's record of dishonesty, he shouldn't be allowed to make any public speeches.

ERIKA S1 years ago


Joan E
Joan E1 years ago

What I hope will be the upside of his whining about HIS well-earned mistreatment when the graduates were there to be encouraged and congratulated for THEIR graduation is that they will hold onto that resentment and never vote for Republicans. If Trump has achieved that, it will be the one helpful thing he did for the USA.

Helene L
Helene L1 years ago

David F
I can't help but feel sorry for you. All your comments on Trump issues have been so empty of common sense and intelligence. Get a life or go back to school.

Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E1 years ago

@ david f
If you remember as far back as a couple of days ago, I did say I WATCHED your hero disgrace himself live and in real time. I didn't NEED ANY news source. Wake up david

Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E1 years ago

david f
then don't use the rag "daily caller " as YOUR source. They put their own unique spin (or lies) on most things they write. Low information trump supporter david?