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President to speak at West Point graduation in June

President Donald Trump will serve as the commencement speaker at the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2020 graduation ceremony at West Point, New York, on June 13, officials announced Wednesday.

The event, which marks Trump’s first visit to West Point as graduation speaker, will come as cadets return to campus for the first time since all of them were sent home during Spring Break. They have since continued their classes remotely.

“We are honored to host the commander in chief as we celebrate the many accomplishments of our graduating class,” said West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams. “West Point continues to receive tremendous support from Army leadership throughout this process, and the academy looks forward to welcoming the newest cohort of lieutenants."

West Point said the graduation will look different from past ceremonies due to public health restrictions. The size and scope of the graduation ceremony could be reduced in some manner, and academy leaders are “conducting a thorough analysis and plan" for how to bring cadets back for the graduation.

The graduation was originally scheduled to occur on May 23. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended the state’s stay-at-home order end date to May 15. The order started on March 22 and was originally intended to end on April 15.

The West Point campus is a roughly one-hour drive from New York City, a metropolitan area that quickly became a hotspot for the pandemic.

The city has had nearly 135,000 cases, more than 35,000 hospitalizations and approximately 10,000 confirmed deaths, with another 4,800 probable deaths of people who were not tested for COVID-19 but whose death certificates list the cause of death as "COVID-19″ or an equivalent, according to public health data.

Vice President Mike Pence attended the Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado Springs late last week, which that service academy decided to hold early, rather than late, as West Point is doing.

Air Force Academy underclassmen were sent home earlier in the semester similar to West Point cadets, but the graduating class stayed in place, finishing the year out isolated in their rooms to mitigate the coronavirus’ spread. Two Air Force Academy cadets died in March from what were believed to be suicides, The Colorado Gazette reported.

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