Trump to speak at Coast Guard Academy graduation next month

New London — President Donald Trump will visit the city next month to deliver the keynote address to graduating cadets at the Coast Guard Academy.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made the announcement during his daily news briefing Wednesday. The academy later confirmed the news in a press release.

The graduation ceremony — when cadets become the Coast Guard's newest officers — will take place on May 17. The ceremony is not open to the public.

"Every commencement is a special occasion, but it is particularly memorable when the president presents our future leaders with their commissions," Superintendent Rear Adm. James E. Rendon said in a written statement. "We are also grateful for the opportunity to highlight our academy and our mission to develop leaders of character for the Coast Guard and the nation."

There was speculation leading up to Wednesday's announcement that Trump would be the keynote speaker given that he is expected to be out of the country when the other service academies graduate.

Typically, presidents address the graduating class at one of the federal service academies on a rotating basis. Based on that rotation, Trump was due to speak at the Naval Academy's 2017 graduation. But he is expected to be in Taormina, Sicily, for the Group of Seven summit when the midshipmen graduate.

Trump, in his first budget request, proposes $2.8 billion more in funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which the Coast Guard falls under. However, documents leaked before Trump officially unveiled his request, showed a proposal to slash the Coast Guard's budget by $1.3 billion to pay for other priorities within DHS, namely cracking down on illegal immigration. The cut did not make it into Trump's 2018 budget request, which was released in March. He will unveil a more detailed budget proposal in May.

The visit to New London will mark Trump's first trip to the state as president. He came to Connecticut several times during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Former President Barack Obama spoke at the Coast Guard Academy's graduation in 2011 and again in 2015.

j.bergman@theday.com

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