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Biden tears into Putin and Xi Jinping, pays tribute to McCain in Navy Academy address

President Joe Biden on Friday joked with the Navy guard that he went into football and politics before a military career, warning them that the next 10 years will be a “decisive decade” in American history.

‘Things are changing so rapidly that the next 10 years will be the defining decade of this century. Because they are going to shape what the world looks like and the values ​​that will guide it, not just for the immediate future but for generations to come,” Biden said in his commencement address at the Naval Academy.

Biden, in his comments, lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jingping. He also paid tribute to the late Senator John McCain, one of the academy’s most famous graduates.

He presented for the class of 2022 the world they go to as officers in the United States Army.

“No officer knows the variety of challenges they will face when they commission the class of 2022. They are graduating at a turning point not only in American history, but in world history,” he said.

He then painted a portrait of the current situation in the world, citing references to the war in Ukraine, US forces in Europe supporting NATO allies, and Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific.

Specifically, he criticized Putin for the ‘brutal and brutal war in Ukraine’.

Biden accused the Russian president of trying to kill Ukraine’s culture.

“Not only is he trying to take over Ukraine, but he is really trying to wipe out the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people, attacking schools, kindergartens, hospitals, museums, for no other purpose,” he said.

He called it a “direct attack on the fundamental principles of the rules-based international order.”

President Joe Biden joked with the Navy officer that he went into football and politics instead of a military career and warned them that the next 10 years will be a

President Joe Biden joked with the naval officer that he went into football and politics instead of a military career and warned them that the next 10 years will be a “decisive decade” in American history.

Midshipmen take the oath of office at the US Naval Academy Annapolis Commencement and Graduation Ceremony

Midshipmen take the oath of office at the US Naval Academy Annapolis Commencement and Graduation Ceremony

President Joe Biden presents diplomas to graduates

President Joe Biden presents diplomas to graduates

President Biden shakes hands with a graduating Marine

President Biden shakes hands with a graduating Marine

Biden also touched on Chinese aggression, which his administration is trying to counter. He repeated his call for a ‘free and independent’ Indo-Pacific region.

“We are experiencing a global struggle between autocracies and democracies,” he said, specifically calling out China’s president.

He said of Xi: ‘When he called me to congratulate me on election night, he told me what he had said many times before. She said that democracies cannot be sustained in the 21st century. Autocracies will rule the world, why? Things are changing so fast. Democracies require consensus and it takes time. And you don’t have time. He is wrong.’

But, Biden warned graduates, “that’s what you’re graduating into.”

He said America’s greatest strength is “our unmatched network of global alliances and the strength of our partnerships since I was elected, I’ve been trying to reestablish in detail.”

He told the graduates that in their careers they will face a series of responsibilities. He later pointed out as an example the military that carries the ‘ball’ -the country’s nuclear codes-. A military officer brings ‘football’ wherever the president goes.

And he paid tribute to McCain, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958 and is buried in his cemetery.

“He always lives by a code, the same code that all of you have been taught, it’s not just words, it’s true duty, honor, loyalty,” Biden said of McCain.

A graduate celebrates receiving a diploma

A graduate celebrates receiving a diploma

President Joe Biden recognizes Midshipman Sarah Skinner as he speaks during the US Naval Academy Commencement and Graduation Ceremony;  Biden congratulated Skinner on receiving a Rhodes Scholarship

President Joe Biden recognizes Midshipman Sarah Skinner as he speaks during the US Naval Academy Commencement and Graduation Ceremony; Biden congratulated Skinner on receiving a Rhodes Scholarship

President Joe Biden puts his hand to his heart as the National Anthem plays

President Joe Biden puts his hand to his heart as the National Anthem plays

A midshipman adjusts the uniform of another midshipman as they wait for the U.S. Naval Academy graduation and commissioning ceremony to begin.

A midshipman adjusts the uniform of another midshipman as they wait for the U.S. Naval Academy graduation and commissioning ceremony to begin.

Midship seated at graduation ceremony

Midship seated at graduation ceremony

Despite the seriousness of the remarks, reminding graduates of the responsibilities that lay ahead of them, Biden began on a lighthearted note.

He recalled that in his first Senate race, in 1972, he was running against incumbent Sen. J. Caleb Boggs, who years earlier had offered him a position at the Naval Academy when he was considering which college to attend.

Biden eventually attended the University of Delaware.

“I didn’t come to the Academy because I wanted to be a football star,” he told the graduates.

And, he noted, during a debate on his campaign, Boggs told him, ‘You know, Joe, if you accepted my appointment from the academy, he said you’d still have one year and three months of active duty and I’d have no problems right now. ‘

Biden won that Senate race, beginning his political career.

Biden also referenced his late son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015 and served in the Army reserves.

While praising the Naval Academy for its victories against West Point (the Army school), Biden joked, “I hope my son in heaven doesn’t hear me say that part.”

Biden will also give another commencement address this weekend, this one on Saturday at the University of Delaware, his alma mater.

This is Biden’s third commencement address as president. He delivered two last year, before the Coast Guard Academy and South Carolina State University.

Biden spoke at the outdoor ceremony at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The graduating class sat in rows of white folding chairs on the stadium grounds in front of the stage. The students were a mix of white navy and navy blue uniforms.

Family, friends and other spectators were sitting in the stands, which were mostly full.

There are 20,000 in attendance, the White House said, including graduates, families of graduates, members of the US Navy leadership, members of the administration and members of Congress.

President Joe Biden walks onstage at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the Naval Academy in Anapolis, Maryland

President Joe Biden walks onstage at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the Naval Academy in Anapolis, Maryland

Midshipmen arrive for the US Naval Academy Commencement and Graduation Ceremony.

Midshipmen arrive for the US Naval Academy Commencement and Graduation Ceremony.

Graduation guards await the start of the ceremony at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the Naval Academy in Anapolis, Maryland

Graduation guards await the start of the ceremony at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the Naval Academy in Anapolis, Maryland

The sky was cloudy but the rain stopped for the president’s remarks, which were also broadcast on the stadium’s giant thunder.

Biden entered the stadium wearing a black face mask. At the beginning of the ceremony she played America the Beautiful.

The president was formally received with a 21-gun salute, followed by the interpretation of the National Anthem. Biden took off his mask and put his hand to his heart for the song.

He concluded the ceremony by presenting diplomas to the top 100 cadets and then shaking hands with all the other graduates. The president was on stage for more than an hour to shake hands and greet each graduate.

He closed his comments with this: ‘I can promise you all of you have the tools you need to navigate whatever water you find. This great Academy has prepared you to face every challenge and overcome any obstacle. Are you ready. Because my wish for you is favorable winds and favorable seas. Because I know you will always remain faithful. May God protect you all and set you on your way.’

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