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On Wednesday, President Joe Biden delivered the commencement address for the 140th graduation at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. During that speech, Biden had a moment very similar to Jeb Bush’s notorious “please clap” moment during the 2016 Republican primary — the moment that encapsulated why establishment favorite “low-energy Jeb” failed to nab his party’s nomination. Yet even Jeb Bush did not call his audience “dull” for refusing to clap.
Biden said Coast Guard members should feel proud to be called “the hard nucleus around the Navy formed in times of war.” (A quote from former Vice President Dick Cheney’s address during the 2008 commencement.) He did not accentuate the statement and he did not leave the audience very much time to react.
Instead, he told the 240 new ensigns, graduates of the Coast Guard Academy, that they were “dull” for not taking the — essentially non-existent and certainly unprompted — opportunity to clap.
“You’re a really dull class. I mean, come on, man. Is the sun getting to you? I would think that you would have an opportunity, that when I say that about the Navy, to clap,” Biden said.
Joe Biden calls Coast Guard graduates “dull” when they don’t clap during his speech pic.twitter.com/STnvJxMuLl
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 19, 2021
While Biden may have been joking in calling the class “dull” — the statement did evoke some awkward nervous laughter — the president did blame Coast Guard ensigns for his own failure to inspire applause.
The president also quoted Chinese Communist Dictator Mao Zedong while praising the increased number of female graduates in the 2021 class. “There’s a saying we use in a different context. It’s a Chinese saying. It says, ‘Women hold up half the world.’ It’s an absolutely stupid position not to make sure they represent at least half of what we do,” Biden said.
While most Americans would agree with the sentiment that “women hold up half the world,” it seems odd that Biden chose to quote Mao in order to make this point. Americans have made numerous similar statements, but Biden chose to quote a brutal Chinese dictator.
Biden quotes Mao Zedong in address to Coast Guard Class of 2021: “Women hold up half the world.” He goes on to say “It’s an absolutely stupid position not to make sure they represent at least half of what we do.” pic.twitter.com/ZaKwZTQqPX
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) May 19, 2021
Biden did not waste the opportunity to push his climate alarmist agenda to the armed forces. He praised the Coast Guard for being “part of our response to wildfires in the west, record flooding in the heart of the country,” and warned that “these patterns are only going to get worse if we fail to take immediate and ambitious actions on climate.” (There is no evidence that alleged manmade climate change is responsible for California wildfires or Midwest flooding, which are easily attributable to other causes.)
He also predicted that the Coast Guard will see more disaster response action. “With the pace of climate change accelerating, we’re seeing more frequent and more intense storms that call for you to respond,” Biden predicted. He did not address the fact that his climate policies have already damaged the energy industry.
He called out the attempts by Russia and China to challenge the rules of maritime trade and security, but he did not mention the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
The president also appeared to forget the name of his Coast Guard military aide, Lt. Commander Jayna McCarron. While introducing McCarron, he paused after saying her first name, then said, “now, I’m going to embarrass her,” before finally saying something like “McCarron” extremely quickly, as if to cover for his forgetfulness.
Biden seems to struggle to remember Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander’s name pic.twitter.com/E2XmE6FvVS
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 19, 2021
This speech is unlikely to help or hurt Biden in the long run, but conservatives and Coast Guard graduates might remember the cringeworthy “please clap” moment in which Biden decided to insult the men and women in one of America’s armed forces as “dull.”