Biden Tells West Point Graduates ‘You Can Clap for That’ in Speech

President Biden asked an audience to applaud his remarks about American power during an address to West Point cadets. The President praised the United States as the world’s only superpower and leading democracy before stating, “America is the strongest when we lead not only by our example, our power, but by the power of our example.” However, the remarks were met with silence, prompting Biden to say, “You can clap for that.” 

Commentators compared the incident to a moment during Jeb Bush’s 2016 Presidential campaign and a speech he delivered in Hanover, New Hampshire, that was similarly met with silence from the crowd. “Please clap,” Bush said. 

Several social media users mocked President Biden and his apparent lack of impact at an event where Presidents routinely announce or commit to military or foreign policy objectives. Some commenters suggested it was time for Biden to go, while others noted that Donald Trump has never had to ask an audience to acknowledge his remarks. 

In addressing policy, Biden briefly referred to the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza and pledged not to send US troops to fight in either war. The President furthermore urged newly graduated cadets never to tolerate liars or cheats. While not mentioning Donald Trump, Biden reminded graduates that their oath was not to a President or party, but to the US Constitution, and he urged them to remain faithful to that oath. 

Meanwhile, Donald Trump endured an unusually hostile audience when he asked attendees at the Libertarian Party conference in Washington to nominate him for President. Mr. Trump responded to subsequent booing, saying they should only nominate him if they want to win, but they have the option to “Keep getting your 3% every four years.” 

The event marked the first time a Presidential candidate has spoken at a third-party convention and analysts suggest it indicates Trump’s intention to woo voters away from Robert F. Kennedy, who has secured double-digit support in some polls.