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Trump snubbed? Prominent universities shun president as grad speaker, again

Venerable and mainstream universities continually snub President Donald Trump as a commencement speaker, with the commander in chief as of today only slated to give the address at the United States Naval Academy this graduation season.

Every year at least one military school typically hosts the current president as a grad speaker. But Trump’s overall graduation speaker circuit looks sparse when it comes to the number and type of schools he gives speeches at compared to other politicians.

Last year, he gave speeches at Liberty University and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Compare that with President Obama’s first year in office. In 2009, Obama spoke at the University of Notre Dame, Arizona State University, and the United States Naval Academy.

So while Trump gets invited to military schools, as is tradition for a sitting president, and got the nod from Liberty University — a Christian school whose president, Jerry Falwell, is a supporter of Trump’s — it appears he may not be getting invites from historic, well-known, larger mainstream universities.

The White House did not respond to requests from The College Fix, seeking comment and clarification on whether Trump is declining invites, or not getting them at all.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton will speak at Yale University this year. Al Gore is the headliner at the University of Maryland’s flagship campus. After Joe Biden turned down Rutgers, it settled for PayPal’s CEO. At Harvard, it’s tapped Democrat Congressman John Lewis. Vice President Mike Pence is set for Hillsdale College, one of the most well-known conservative colleges in the nation. Democrat Sen. Cory Booker is the keynote at Princeton’s ceremonies this year. Even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address New York University’s graduating class this month.

Last year, Democrats, Clinton supporters and Hollywood elites also dominated commencement podiums.

As The College Fix has previously reported, presidents have long been popular commencement speakers and have given an average of three graduation addresses annually since the beginning of Bill Clinton’s presidency, according to FiveThirtyEight. They have traditionally addressed at least one service academy per year.

In his two-term presidency, President Obama gave a total of 24 commencement addresses, per FiveThirtyEight. He spoke at a wide range of universities that included public and private institutions, historically black colleges and universities, and multiple service academies.

As for President Trump, during his speech at Liberty, he had emphasized his belief that “In America, we worship God, not government,” and to “relish the opportunity to be an outsider.” Maybe that’s a message campus leaders don’t want their grads to hear.

MORE: Trump seemingly shunned by universities as commencement season nears

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About the Author
Stone Washington -- Clemson University