Donald Trump walking down west point ramp

Donald Trump's June 2020 West Point Commencement Speech

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Updated Jun 23, 2020 at 04:04PM EDT by Matt.

Added Jun 15, 2020 at 11:36AM EDT by Matt.

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Overview

Donald Trump's June 2020 West Point Commencement Speech occurred on June 13th, 2020 at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Video of the speech went viral due to the manner in which President Donald Trump drank water with two hands and cautiously walked down an incline following his speech. Online, many speculated that the video of Trump's walk and drinking water indicated a decline in the president's health.

Background

On June 13th, 2020, President Trump delivered a commencement speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.[1] During the speech, Trump appeared to have trouble steadying his hand to sip from a glass of water and, following his presentation, appeared to walk carefully and with great concentration down an incline (clips below, left and right).



Developments

Online Reaction

That day, journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted the video from the speech, claiming that Trump seemed to have trouble pronouncing General Douglas MacArthur's name, needed to use two hands to drink water and had to gingerly walk down a ramp. The final video, one of him walking the ramp, received more than 12 million views, 20,000 likes, 11,000 retweets and 7,300 comments in less than two days (shown below).

Twitter user @sarahcpr tweeted,[2] "Who knew the psychological thriller of 2020 would be Trump vs Ramp." The tweet received more than 127,000 likes and 14,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).


Sarah Cooper @sarahcpr Who knew the psychological thriller of 2020 would be Trump vs Ramp 7:01 AM · Jun 14, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone


On June 14th, Redditor [10] IAmClaytonBigsby shared news of the walk on the /r/politics subreddit. The post received more than 10,000 points (96% upvoted) and 1,100 comments in less than 24 hours.

President Trump's Response

On June 13th, 2020, Trump tweeted,[3] "The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery. The last thing I was going to do is 'fall' for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!" The tweet received more than 273,000 likes and 72,000 retweets in less than two days (shown below).


Donald J. Trump @realDonald Trump The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery. The last thing I was going to do is "fall" for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum! 7:57 PM · Jun 13, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Some began sharing another tweet[9] by Trump from April 22nd, 2014 in which he criticized President Barack Obama for the way he walked a set of stairs on Air Force One (shown below).


Donald J. Trump @realDonald Trump The way President Obama runs down the stairs of Air Force 1, hopping & bobbing all the way, is so inelegant and unpresidential. Do not fall! 5:23 PM · Apr 22, 2014 · Twitter for Android


Media Coverage

Several media outlets covered the story, including the New York Times,[4] CNN,[5] Mashable, [6] New York Daily News,[7] Washington Post[8] and more.

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