Addressing the Coast Guard in his first commencement speech as president, Biden attempted to make a joke about the Navy on Wednesday.
‘I can only assume that you’ll enjoy educating your family about how the Coastguard is, quote, the hard nucleus around the Navy forms in times of war.’
Biden seemed to trip over his words and the attempt at humor failed to raise a laugh.
The response upset Biden, who told the graduates: ‘You are a really dull class.’
Keen observers on social media pointed out that Biden had lifted a line that Ronald Reagan made in 1988 at the Coast Guard commencement speech that year.
Joe Biden lifted a line from a famous Ronald Reagan speech during a speech to Coast Guard graduates, but appeared to flub the joke and got angry when nobody laughed. Reagan delivering to Coast Guard graduates in 1988, left, and Biden delivering his less successful version, right, on Wednesday
Reagan said: ‘My coastguard aides have been excellent. One of them taught me that that the Coastguard is that hard nucleus about which the navy forms in time of war.’
The joke was a hit with the class of ’88, prompting a huge cheer and ripples of laughter.
Biden’s four-decade career in politics has been plagued by plagiarism.
He was famously forced to quit his first run for president in August 1987 after he was caught copying a speech from former British Labour leader Neil Kinnock.
The scandal prompted investigative journalists to uncover that Biden had used elements of other politicians’ speeches without credit.
President Joe Biden spoke to Coast Guard Academy graduates, and appeared to steal a famous line delivered by Ronald Reagan in 1988
In 1987, as a 44-year-old Biden was among the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination to replace Reagan as President.
He delivered a speech in which he stated: ‘Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? Is it because I’m the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest?’
Who told it better?
Ronald Reagan is considered one of the greatest orators among modern Presidents
In 1988, Ronald Reagan said: ‘My Coast Guard aides have been excellent. One of them taught me that that the Coast Guard is that hard nucleus about which the Navy forms in time of war,’ to which the crowd cheered.
In 2021 Biden said: ‘I can only assume that you’ll enjoy educating your family about how the Coastguard is quote the hard nucleus around the Navy forms in times of war.’ When nobody laughed, Biden said: ‘You are a really dull class.’
Listeners immediately drew comparisons to a speech delivered by British Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock, just months earlier.
‘Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is (his wife) Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?’ Kinnock famously asked.
Biden gave no credit to Kinnock during his speech.
Other examples of Biden lifting speeches without credit soon came to light.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, in a speech Biden made earlier in 1987 he had pulled lines from a speech given by Robert F. Kennedy two decades earlier.
The paper also reported that in 1986 Biden used – without credit – a passage from a 1976 speech by former vice president Hubert Humphrey Jr.
At his Democratic National Convention speech last year, Biden was again accused of appropriating another person’s words.
Canadians claimed that some of his lines sounded suspiciously similar to those penned by politician, Jack Layton.
Layton served as the leader of the left-wing New Democratic Party from 2003 until his death in 2011. Prior to his passing, at the age of 61, Layton penned a letter, which read in part: ‘Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.’
During Biden’s speech on Thursday night, he stated: ‘Love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear. Light is more powerful than dark.’
While the words are not identical, a number of Canadians took to Twitter claiming that Biden may have mimicked Layton.
One stated: ‘With respect, Joe, if you’re going to quote the late Canadian NDP leader Jack Layton, at least give him credit.’
In 2019, his campaign installed a $4,200 anti-plagiarism software program, according to The New York Post.
Biden tried to crack a joke about the Coast Guard being the ‘the hard nucleus around the Navy forms in times of war’ and then slammed the class as ‘dull’ for not getting his joke
Biden addressed the new Coast Guard cadets who graduated in front of their parents
Cadets throw their caps in the air during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement ceremony in New London, Connecticut
Speaking to the Coast Guard graduates on Wednesday, Biden said he had been a prankster in college and told them they were ‘a really dull class’ when they didn’t get a joke about the Navy during his first commencement speech as president.
‘As your commander in chief I’ve been looking forward to being able to do this for a long time. I want to keep the longstanding tradition: I hereby absolve all those serving restrictions [for] minor infractions – absolved’ that might otherwise mar the records of graduating cadets, he told them.
‘You have no idea how much I wish you’d have been able to do that in my graduation,’ he joked. ‘You all think I’m kidding. I’m not. Minor infractions like using a fire extinguisher to hose down a room assistant, but other than that …’ he said, alluding to a prank he carried out on his dorm advisor at the University of Delaware.
Biden made the quip on a trip to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, where he spoke to cadets from the Bears stadium located on the Thames river.
Biden also delivered words honoring the vital service provided by the Coast Guard, while sprinkling in warnings for adversaries.
He brought up the 30 named storms that ravaged the country, and raised the threat of climate change.
‘And the Coast Guard was always there to respond. Even at the height of the pandemic,’ he said. He acknowledged the new class for choosing the ‘difficult path.’
He also delivered a message to Russia and China, with whom he said he had ‘direct discussion,’ about freedom of navigation. He called freedom of navigation the ‘bedrock’ of the global economy.
‘I would think you’d have an opportunity when I say that about the Navy to clap,’ he said. Then he got a laugh and the round of applause he was looking for
Biden congratulates Cadet Daisy Anne Atayan, one of the two first female Philippine Coast Guard-sponsored cadets
A history of Joe Biden’s plagiarism accusations
1965: During his first year at law school, Biden received an F in one class because he allegedly drew “chunks of heavy legal prose directly from” an article that he only cited once. Biden later said he did not know how to do proper citation, and he did not deliberately copy without giving recognition
1986: According to The San Jose Mercury News, Biden used – without credit – a passage from a 1976 speech by former vice president Hubert Humphrey Jr.
1987: Biden used lines from a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock without credit. The issue generated widespread controversy and forced him to withdraw from the Democratic Presidential primaries
Back in 1987, during his first bid for President, Biden faced accusations of plagiarism that ultimately forced him to drop out of the race. He is pictured on the campaign trail that year
1987: The San Jose Mercury News claimed Biden pulled lines from a 1967 speech given by Robert F. Kennedy without credit. Biden’s consultant takes the blame, saying he never informed him of the source material
2019: Biden is accused of not accurately crediting sources he included in his Climate Change Plan
2020: Biden mimics Ronald Reagan during commencement speech to Coast Guard
‘When nations try to game the system or tilt the rules in their favor, it throws everything off balance,’ he said.
He said he was ‘adamant’ that the parts fo the world that are ‘arteries of trade and shipping remain peaceful, whether that’s the South China Sea, the Arabian Gulf, and increasingly the Arctic.
‘It’s of vital interest to America’s foreign policy secure unimpeded flow of global commerce.’
He called for shipping to ‘remain peaceful’ in the South China Sea, the Arabian Gulf, and ‘increasingly the Arctic.’
He also sprinkled other light moments in his remarks, including after he brought up the Navy. ‘Come on, man, is the sun getting to you?’ he asked, after the crowd didn’t seize the opportunity to clap. Graduates then joined in a round of applause.
Biden handed diplomas to graduating cadets, who became ensigns and were having their assignments announced as they walked across a stage.
He posed with each, elbow bumping some.
Biden handed diplomas to graduating cadets, who became ensigns and were having their assignments announced as they walked across a stage
Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, second from right, watch on during the singing of the National Anthem
Biden referenced a college prank where he sprayed a resident associate in his dorm with a fire extinguisher
Cadets listen during the commencement for the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Biden delivered his first graduation speech as president
President Joe Biden greets a cadet during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement ceremony in New London, Connecticut, U.S., May 19, 2021
When he was done, he was presented with a ceremonial sword. ‘I won’t be needing this any time soon,’ he joked.
Biden delivered his first commencement as president Wednesday.
He spoke to cadets after the White House told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One that he had phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to press a ‘significant deescalation’ in Israel’s war with Hamas.
‘The president conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,’ White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told DailyMail.com and a group of reporters traveling with the president.
Earlier, Rear Admiral William G. Kelly, superintendent of the academy, urged graduates ‘fair winds and great success.’ He also acknowledged 2020 graduates, who he said ‘missed out’ on the pomp and circumstance last year amid the spreading pandemic.
Early indications were that the president would speak about the role of the Coast Guard in safeguarding the nation’s security, although presidents sometimes use spring graduation ceremonies to touch on more sweeping themes.
In Biden’s case, the speech comes as the administration was set to formally announce 60 per cent of Americans had received at least one coronavirus shot. It also comes a day after fighting between Israel and Hamas intruded on his trip to Michigan.
Biden spoke for several minutes on the tarmac in Michigan with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who according to her office pressed him on what she called unconditional support for Israel.