President Trump’s commencement speech is slated to bring 1,000 cadets who had scattered across the country to help counter the coronavirus, back to the West Point campus in suburban New York in June.
According to The New York Times, officials at the military academy had not yet finalized plans for the graduation ceremony when the president announced last Saturday he would be speaking there.
Trump’s announcement has led the school to summon the cadets back to campus amid shutdowns and domestic travel restrictions.
“He’s the commander in chief, that’s his call,” Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate and former chairwoman of the academy’s Board of Visitors, told the Times. “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,” she added to the newspaper. “It’s definitely a risk.”
The graduation was originally scheduled for May 23 and moved to June 13.
White House officials insist that it had been a longstanding plan for Trump to address students in a commencement speech in late May and that the president had left it up to the school to decide whether it was safe to move ahead with a graduation ceremony in June.