The Themes of the West Point Speech Can Reignite the Spirit of 2016
Jun 15, 2020
RUSH: Now, here’s President Trump. I happened to watch his address to the graduating class at West Point on Saturday morning at 10:45. I almost missed it. I thought these things were done in the afternoon.
Also, it was the president’s first such appearance, and they tried to say, “That’s uncouth; Trump has no business going to West Point.” Why not? He’s the commander-in-chief. (sputtering) “Well, well, we don’t like Trump. He’s politicizing it, and… and… and… he stands for the flag and we don’t like the flag. This is… This is horrible. We don’t think Trump ought to be there.”
By the way, I have to give a shout-out to the superintendent of West Point. What a great guy. He spruced Trump and addressed the graduating class of 2020, and I… This is so bad. I’m not getting his name and it’ not coming up in my deep, dark crevices of my enviable memory. Darryl… Darryl… Darryl… I’ll get it in a minute. He’s just the kind of guy you’d like to meet, the kind of guy you’d like to get to know.
Anyway, Trump delivered this speech, and it was fabulous, and it contained themes that I was saying to myself, “These themes, some of these themes need to be voiced in every Trump appearance. Be it a press conference, be it a rally, be it anywhere. When he goes out to visit a company to praise them for what they’ve done to help with the coronavirus, whatever, these themes, these principles need to be constantly mentioned so they become readily identifiable within.”
These are the things that he did make a huge deal about during the campaign of 2015 and 2016. I’ll give you some examples. We have one, two, three, four audio sound bites, and here we start with the first one…
THE PRESIDENT: I want to take this opportunity to thank all members of America’s Armed Forces in every branch — active duty, National Guard, and reserve — who stepped forward to help battle the invisible enemy — the new virus that came to our shores from a distant land called China. We will vanquish the virus. We will extinguish this plague. I also want to thank the men and women of our National Guard who respond with precision to so many recent challenges, from hurricanes and natural disasters, to ensuring peace, safety, and the constitutional rule of law on our streets. We thank every citizen who wears a uniform in selfless service to our nation.
RUSH: So there he is emphasizing the Guard’s role on the war on the virus from China, keeping peace in the streets. Darryl Williams is the name of the superintendent. I don’t remember now his title. Is it…? (interruption) Lieutenant General Darryl Williams. He introduced Trump. He’s the kind of guy you just got the impression that the cadets love this guy.
They are probably scared to death of him at the same time ’cause he’s the authority, and I guaran-damn-tee you they would never push back against this guy. But he was… He just had one of these obviously charismatic smiles and personalities. Here’s the next sound bite from Trump’s speech on Saturday at West Point…
THE PRESIDENT: The survival of America and the endurance of civilization itself depends on the men and women just like each of you. It depends on people who love their country with all their heart and energy and soul. It depends on citizens who build, sustain, nurture, and defend institutions like this one; that is how societies are made and how progress is advanced. What has historically made America unique is the durability of its institutions against the passions and prejudices of the moment. When times are turbulent, when the road is rough, what matters most is that which is permanent, timeless, enduring, and eternal.
RUSH: Remains so — and that is so correct. Do you realize how few institutions Americans trust anymore? Do you realize how big a problem that is? Forget pushback. There are Americans who no longer think it’s okay to trust take your pick of a federal agency, State Department, whatever they think the deep state is. The military.
Even the military, when they make it obviously political, when it becomes abundantly clear that the military has generals in it that hate Trump, what does that do for people’s confidence in the durability and the eternal, long lasting durability of that institution? It is crucial that America hold on. Some people say, “Oh, we need constant change, Rush. We can’t stay mired in the past.” No, no, no. Staying mired in the past is not what I’m talking about.
When you have venerable institutions which provide public confidence and trust and particularly in the all-important area of defending and protecting the country and the people in it and the Constitution, it is crucial. And I’m telling you that there is a vanishing number of institutions that people hold in respect. The judiciary. How long has that been so politicized? I could go down the list of things. Congress? It is a dwindling number of institutions.
Trump is exactly right. When times are turbulent, when the road is rough, what matters most is that which is permanent, timeless, enduring, and eternal. That’s what matters most. You know something else? We don’t have the bite for it, but he talked about the cadets. He told them how special they are. There were 1,107 in the graduating class. And he pointed out they could have gone to any university in this country on scholarship.
They could have gone to the top-notch schools. But what did they do? They chose not West Point. They chose defending their country.
Big deal to Trump. Patriotism. They chose defending their country. And he made it a point to ask them to stand up and give their families, their parents, their grandparents, their guardians, their fiances thanks throughout all of their lives for supporting them to make the dream of attending West Point and graduating from the place a reality.
My family has a West Point graduate, my cousin Dan. Proudest day in the family’s life was when Dan was admitted to West Point. He became an immediate star. He ended up being a professor, a law professor there for a while afterwards. And it’s a big, big deal. It is one of the greatest sources of pride to this day for families when their children get into this place. Same thing with the Naval Academy. Same thing with the Air Force Academy. They’re all revered, because they’re all timeless, they’re all eternal.
Nobody thinks the American military’s gonna lose. Nobody thinks the Navy is gonna get sunk. That’s what I mean by timeless and enduring with constant faith. But it was abundantly clear how rare the opportunity to attend West Point, Naval Academy, Air Force, how rare Trump knows it is, how rare the achievement of lasting and graduating is. And he was abundantly clear in how much he appreciated it, all of them. Got two more bites. Here’s the third one.
THE PRESIDENT: It was this school that gave us the men who fought and won a bloody war to extinguish the evil of slavery within one lifetime of our founding. It was the graduates of West Point — towering figures like MacArthur, Patton, Eisenhower, and Bradley — who led America to victory over the sinister Nazis and imperial fascists 75 years ago. It was under the leadership of West Point graduates, like the legendary General Matthew Ridgway, that the Army was at the forefront of ending the terrible injustice of segregation. It was Army strength that held the line against the brutal opposition and oppression from communism. And it has been thanks to patriots like you that America has climbed to new heights of human achievement and national endeavor.
RUSH: And it would not be a Trump address, particularly to the U.S. military, without a reference to the American flag.
THE PRESIDENT: They did it because they believed in the undying principles of our founding. They did it because they cherished their homes, their faith, their family, and their flag. And they did it because when they came to this school, they were taught to hold fast to their love of our country; to cherish our heritage, learn from it, and build upon it. That is what young Americans are taught here at West Point. That is the legacy that you carry forward as second lieutenants in the United States Army, and you must never forget it.
RUSH: I think that if in every Trump speech, appearance, press conference, it wouldn’t take much, just a reference to some of these enduring values, traditions, institutions, the things that would hearken people back to the campaign of 2015, 2016 for which Trump is singularly identified and attached. Hillary Clinton never said one word approaching any of this during the campaign of 2016. Hillary Clinton was out ripping into the basket of deplorables or what have you.
It’s not called for in Democrat politics to praise the military. You just don’t do that. They don’t criticize the military as much anymore, not nearly as much as they used to, because they think they run it now. When Democrats, when the left takes over an institution, the criticism of it stops, obviously. And they think they run the military now, so there’s not nearly as much institutional criticism. But they still can’t bring themselves to praise it. Not like Trump can.
I’m telling you, if Trump could trace his way back, “Well, Rush you can’t recreate the past. Trump’s been there four years. You can’t go back to where nobody knew Trump – well, not nobody knew him, but nobody expected him to run, he was fresh, you can’t make somebody fresh that’s been around for four years.” That’s my point. You can reignite the reasons people voted for the guy in the first place, because they are as important today, if not more so, than they were in 2015.
RUSH: Here is the Trump sound bite from the West Point speech to the graduates in the class of 2020 where he let them know how special he thinks they are.
THE PRESIDENT: Every graduate on this field could have gone to virtually any top-ranked university that you wanted. You chose to devote your life to the defense of America. You came to West Point because you know the truth: America is the greatest country in human history, and the United States Military is the greatest force for peace and justice the world has ever known.
RUSH: Bingo. Absolutely right. It has never changed. That has always been the case since the founding of the country, the United States Army and the rest of the military branches. It has always been the case. We do not conquer. We liberate the oppressed. We do not take territory that is not ours. Well, we took back Europe, but then we probably gave it back to who owned it. Europe, France, Great Britain. We liberated what the Nazis had taken, and the world knows this.
The greatest force for peace and strength in the history of the world.