Top U.S. Army leaders insisted Thursday that the June 13 graduation ceremony they have announced for West Point cadets — after President Trump declared on April 17 he would be the commencement speaker — will take place in a "safety bubble" of measures aimed at preventing a further spread of the coronavirus.
"We will conduct the ceremony much like the Air Force Academy did on April 18 in honoring completion of their 47-month journey to enter the Army ranks," Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told reporters at the Pentagon, "including at this unprecedented time for our country."
Vice President Mike Pence addressed Air Force cadets in person at the outdoor graduation ceremony McCarthy cited. Only those who were graduating attended, seated eight feet apart from one another.
Critics of the planned in-person West Point ceremony have pointed to a partial audio recording obtained by The Washington Post of a video call made by a West Point instructor to a group of 25 cadets four days after Trump said he would speak at their graduation.
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