Biden begs crowd to ‘clap’ while delivering West Point commencement address

President Joe Biden asked a crowd to acknowledge his inspirational statement to newly graduated West Point cadets while delivering the US military academy’s commencement address on Saturday.

After receiving roaring applause for joking about the rivalry the school has with Annapolis, the United States Naval Academy, and absolving cadets of any minor infraction, Mr Biden was met with silence when he offered words of encouragement about leading the world.

“Never forget, America is the strongest when we lead not only by our example our power, but by the power of our example,” Mr Biden said.

After a few seconds he added, “You can clap for that.”

The crowd offered golf-like applause before Mr Biden moved on, telling the 1,036 cadets that their role as members of the US Army was to pledge their allegiance to the Constitution, not a political party, and saying that he will keep American soldiers out of Ukraine and Israel.

Past presidents have used the West Point commencement address to announce new military measures or address ongoing conflicts.

Mr Biden briefly spoke about the ongoing wars and foreign threats to the US during his speech, telling cadets that the United States plays a powerful role in helping maintain stability across the globe.

He reaffirmed his support for Ukraine in their fight against Russia to a rounding applause and touched on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. He also warned about China attempt’s to control Taiwan, and Iranian missile attacks on Israel.

“Thanks to the US armed forces for doing what only America can do. As the indispensable nation, the world’s only superpower and the leading democracy in the world,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Biden made no direct mention of his political opponent and predecessor, Donald Trump, during his commencement address. But Mr Biden hinted at some values he holds which his campaign has highlighted.

“On your very first day at West Point, you raised your right hand and took an oath. Not to a political party not to a president but to the Constitution of the United States of America,” Mr Biden said. “Hold fast to your oath.”

Mr Biden also encouraged the new graduates to remain loyal to the school’s honor code which states, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.”