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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
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Commencement speaker John King excites SPA graduates with Donald Trump jokes

The CNN anchor spoke about the lessons he learned as he entered adulthood

Photos by Taameen Mohammad and Zach Ewell

CNN anchor and Chief National Correspondent John King addressed members of the AU community in Bender Arena this past Sunday for the School of Public Affairs’ graduation ceremony. The speech consisted of both comedic and serious moments about the philosophy of work and life.

“I am being brutally honest when I tell you I don’t think I have any great secrets or any unique insights, you’ve heard mine before,” King said. “Don’t just work hard, work harder, work smarter, [and] respect others. Get up when you fall and you fail. And trust me you will fall and you will fail. Try when it's hard especially when it's hard to be an optimist."

The 52-year–old can be seen on such CNN shows as “The Lead with Jake Tapper” and almost every special political coverage program. Although most of King’s speech touched upon the humble lessons he learned while growing up, the journalist also entertained the audience in Bender with a few smug Donald Trump jokes.

“I did see on Twitter that some of you were hoping that I would bring the magic wall today,” King said. “Sorry it costs a lot to transport the wall around town and I couldn’t get Mexico to pay for it.”

Combining his knowledge of politics with his duty to hold the attention of the entire arena as commencement speaker, King applied the topical incoming election to explain why AU graduates are so direly needed in today’s world.

“He calls her ‘crooked Hillary’, she calls him a loose cannon and bully. One of them or a Bernie Sanders miracle is gonna have to govern at the end of this or at least try,” King said. “Show them a better way… Donald Trump whatever you think of him is the poster child for the idea that every college graduate should embrace: anything is possible.”

The reaction of many new AU graduates was fairly positive after the commencement speech and the overall ceremony.

“John King’s speech was very good,” said David Stout, a graduate with a degree in Justice and Law. “Making it political was good for this school because we are such a politically active school and everyone will understand it. It’s probably the best place to make those Donald Trump jabs.”

 Hosts Sara Winick and Sydney Hsu introduce themselves and talk about their favorite TV shows. This episode includes fun facts, recommendations and personal connections. 

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