WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump told the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduating class Wednesday that success in life requires tenacity, and just as he has fought back against unfair treatment from naysayers they will face obstacles in their lives and will have to “put your head down and fight, fight, fight.”
“Never, ever, ever give up. Things will end up just fine. Look at the way I have been treated lately, especially by the media,” he said. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down, you can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams.”
Trump comments were met with cheers and applause.
“I guess that’s why we won,” he added.
Trump told the some 200 new Coast Guard cadets and the crowd gathered for their graduation ceremony in New London, Conn. that “adversity makes you stronger.”
“Nothing worth doing ever, ever, ever came easy. And the more righteous your right, the more opposition that you will face,” he said.
His remarks struck a similar tone to a commencement address he gave at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. on Saturday. He told the graduating class of the world’s largest evangelical Christian university to never give up and embrace what it means to be an outsider.
“A small group of failed voices who think they know everything, and understand everyone, want to tell everybody else how to live and what to do and how to think,” Trump said at the time. “But you aren’t going to let other people tell you what you believe.”
Trump’s Wednesday remarks were his first since a Tuesday New York Times report alleged that ousted FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that the president asked him to end the bureau’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Trump’s speech praised his administration thus far. He noted job growth, a drop in illegal crossings on the southern U.S. border, the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, his support for the Second Amendment, the loosening of environmental regulations, and the pursuit of both tax and healthcare reform.
“And we are setting the stage right now for many, many more things to come,” Trump said. “And the people understand what I’m doing, and that’s the most important thing. I didn’t get elected to serve the Washington media or special interests. I got elected to serve the forgotten men and women of our country, and that’s what I’m doing.”
He said that the Coast Guard is known to work with “fewer people and fewer resources” than the other service branches, and that in the same vein he is working to slim the size of the federal government.
“I won’t talk about how much I saved you on the F-35 fighter jet. I won’t even talk about it. Or how much we’re about to save you on the Gerald Ford, the aircraft carrier,” Trump said.
The Coast Guard, however, doesn’t operate either piece of military equipment.
Trump, before giving advice to the graduating class, lauded the new cadets and their commitment to public service.
“You will secure our harbors, our waterways, and our borders. You will partner with our allies to advance our security interests at home and abroad. And you will pursue the terrorists, you will stop the drug smugglers, and you will seek to keep out all who would do harm to our country — all who can never, ever love our country,” Trump said.
He was joined on stage by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Paul Zukunft.
Speaking ahead of Trump, Kelly imparted his own advice to the cadets: “Tell the truth to your seniors, even though it’s uncomfortable, even though they may not want to hear it. They deserve that. Tell the truth.”