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Biden Delivers Commencement Speech, Says ‘We Can Make America Safe’

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President Joe Biden on May 28 delivered the commencement speech at the University of Delaware, touching on the recent mass shootings in Texas and New York and repeating a falsehood about the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Biden, after recalling the time he spent at his alma mater as a student, said there’s been “too much violence” in the United States.

“In the face of such destructive forces, we have to stand stronger. We must stand stronger. We cannot outlaw tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer. We can finally do what we have to do to protect the lives of the people and of our children,” Biden said.

“So I call all Americans this hour to join hands and make your voices heard and work together to make this nation what it can and should be,” added the president, who renewed his call after the Texas shooting for “commonsense gun laws” such as a ban on some semiautomatic firearms.

Two 18-year-olds carried out the recent shootings, according to law enforcement. One killed 10 at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, on May 14. Another killed 21 at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Both were said to have obtained the firearms they used legally.

So far, Biden has been unable to get enough support for legislation he supports because many Republicans favor other approaches, which have themselves been blocked by Democrats. There are ongoing negotiations in the Senate on several gun-related areas, though the exact focus is not yet clear.

Despite the violence, Biden, who is planning on traveling to Uvalde on Sunday, said he’s as optimistic as he’s ever been, citing the generation of students graduating, describing them as “the most generous, the most tolerant, the least prejudiced, the best-educated generation this nation has ever known.”

The president also repeated the lie that the mob that breached the Capitol in 2021 killed multiple police officers, when, in fact, it killed zero officers.

Biden spoke a day after he delivered the commencement speech to graduates at the Naval Academy.

The Democrat urged the graduates to be ready to adapt and lead in the years ahead.

“And, class of 2022, you are graduating at an inflection point not only in American history but in world history. And I mean it. The challenge we face and the choices we make are more consequential than ever,” he said.

“Things are changing so rapidly that the next 10 years will be the decisive decade of this century, because they’re going to shape what our world looks like and the values that will guide it not just for the immediate future, but for generations to come. And that is not hyperbole,” he added, citing how the pandemic triggered widespread disruption of schooling and the supply chain, as well as the Russia-Ukraine war.

Biden wrapped up by thanking the graduates for their service.

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.

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