Biden Will Break With Tradition and Not Deliver Address

President Joe Biden is bucking tradition and refusing to speak at the University of Notre Dame commencement exercises. This relatively new tradition of first-year presidents delivering a commencement speech at Notre Dame began in 2001 when President George W. Bush spoke at the event. Since then, both President Barack Obama and Vice President Mike Pence delivered the address during their first years in office.

Why Did Biden Bail?

Biden was invited to speak at Notre Dame this year. However, the president declined the invitation. While Biden officially said that he could not participate because of a scheduling conflict, the truth is that he bailed when approximately 4,300 members of the university community signed a petition asking Fr. John Jenkins to not invite the president to speak due to his views on abortion. As the president of Notre Dame, Jenkins is responsible for signing off on the commencement speaker.

Details of Petition

The petition argued that the president should not be allowed to deliver the commencement speech. The petition also urged Jenkins to not give Biden an honorary degree. The reasons for this exclusion were Biden’s pro-choice political philosophies and what the Notre Dame community says is his “anti-religious liberty agenda.”

Who Will Step In?

Unlike when former President Donald Trump missed the Notre Dame commencement (it’s unclear if Trump was invited), the vice president also will not deliver the commencement speech. It is not even clear if Vice President Kamala Harris was invited to step in for Biden after he declined the invite. Instead, Jimmy Dunne, finance executive and a trustee of Notre Dame, has been tapped to deliver the important address.