President Trump to speak at USCG academy commencement

The president heads to Connecticut to address the cadets of the Coast Guard Academy graduating class of 2017

President Trump to speak at USCG academy commencement

Cadet 1st Class Jordan Rank throws his cover into the air as he officially becomes an ensign during the 133rd commencement exercises at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., May 21, 2014. Rank is one of more than 200 cadets who graduated during the ceremony. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Russell Blair
The Hartford Courant

New London will host President Donald Trump Wednesday when he addresses graduates at the Coast Guard Academy this morning.

The president traditionally gives the commencement address at one of the four service academies each year, with the vice president and other top officials addressing the other graduating classes.

In preparation for the visit police began closing streets near the academy at 5 a.m.

Two groups have pulled permits for events at McKinley Park near the main gate of the Coast Guard Academy: an anti-Trump demonstration by the Unify and Resist Coalition and a pro-Trump rally by the American Liberty Center organized by Republican Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh.

Stonington fisherman Robert Guzzo said he and his colleagues are hoping to catch Trump's eye by gathering in a "flotilla" near the Coast Guard Academy with signs welcoming the president and asking him to "Make Commercial Fishing Great Again." Guzzo is hoping a meeting can be arranged between Trump and fishermen the same way the president has worked with the coal mining industry.

President Barack Obama spoke to cadets in New London in 2011 and 2015. Last year the academy hosted then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as its commencement speaker.

When Obama spoke in New London in 2015 he focused on the threat of climate change.

Trump made multiple visits to Connecticut during the Republican presidential primary — stopping in Hartford, Waterbury and Bridgeport — and one stop during the general election campaign, addressing a crowd at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield in August.

Wednesday's speech will be the second commencement address Trump has given since he was elected. Over the weekend he spoke to graduates of Liberty University, an evangelical Christian university in Virginia, telling them to "relish the opportunity to be an outsider" and not to listen to the critics.

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©2017 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service