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Trump praises West Point graduates as 'bravest of the brave'

Cadets celebrate after commencement at the West Point graduation ceremony held at the Plain Parade Field at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., on Saturday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 13 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump praised the 2020 West Point graduates as the "bravest of the brave" during his first commencement address at the military school on Saturday.

The president traveled to New York to give the speech in person despite coronavirus mitigation efforts that made this year's ceremony unlike any other.

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"This premier military academy produces only the best of the best, the strongest of the strong, and the bravest of the brave," Trump told the cadets. "West Point is a universal symbol of American gallantry, loyalty, devotion, discipline and skill."

Trump thanked the graduates for "answering your nation's call" to join the Army.

Leading up to Saturday's event, the military school's 1,100 or so graduates quarantined together in groups of about 250 for two weeks in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The ceremony itself was socially distanced, with 6 feet between each graduate at Plain Parade Field.

There also were no guests in attendance at the commencement. Friends and family were allowed to watch via live stream at home.

Trump addressed his efforts to battle the virus during his address, blaming the pandemic on China.

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"We will vanquish the virus. We will extinguish this plague," he said.

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