Security was tight in New London on Wednesday as President Donald Trump made his first visit to Connecticut since he took office.

The commander-in-chief gave this year's commencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy to 195 graduates. It was his first military commencement exercise since he has taken office.

Air Force One landed in Connecticut around 10:30 a.m.

The president deplaned and gave a wave to those there to greet him. He then got into his motorcade and headed to the academy.

Thousands of people were in attendance so security was heightened and police warned people in the area to plan for heavy delays.

Trump's speech began around 11:50 a.m.

"It is truly my honor to welcome you aboard," Trump said.

Trump also thanked Gov. Dannel Malloy being there. He acknowledged Connecticut's budget troubles.

"We're all doing a job," Trump said.

Trump compared the cadets to other college graduates who are graduating this month.

"College graduates are like 'what am I going to do?' he said. "You know what you're going to do."

He said the cadets will never have to answer that question.

"You have to learn how to act under great pressure. You have to learn and how to respond under great pressure," Trump said.

He also told them to stay the course in the face of adversity.

"No politician in history has been treated worse or more unfairly," Trump said of himself. "You can't let them get you down."

Trump told the cadets that adversity makes them stronger.

"Don't back down," he said. "And never stop doing what you know is right."

As he closed his speech he told them "enjoy your life."

"He was very very focused on the young people which I was very pleased to hear," said Peter Dieter-Leeds.

Their commander in chief also toted his first accomplishments, like jobs, a new supreme court justice, and increased spending for the military, especially the Coast Guard.

But President Trump also pointed out how the media has treated him lately, telling cadets to never give up.

“You can't let the critics and naysayers get in the way of your dreams,” Trump said.

Before divesting themselves of their former cadet life, Trump praised the military path these young men and women chose, instead of a traditional college.

"Instead you chose the path of service. You chose hard work, high standards and a very noble mission,” Trump said.

Preparations for the president's visit have been underway for days, with several agencies working together to ensure a safe event. The graduation was not open to the public, but people were allowed to gather at McKinley Park, which is at the corner of Williams Street and Crystal Avenue.

Both protesters and supporters gathered at the park. Both groups appeared to be peacefully coexisting.

Pano of the hundreds that have gathered for President Donald Trump's visit to U.S. Coast Guard Academy— David McKay (@DavidMcKayTV) May 17, 2017

A five-hundred yard security zone had been established around the academy. There were also several road closures around the Groton-New London Airport, including Tower Avenue and High Rock.

#wfsb @USCGAcademy 136th Commencement— Kevin P. Hogan (@newspeddler) May 17, 2017

See photos of the visit



It is a long-standing tradition for the commander-in-chief to address the cadets of the different services.

President Barack Obama came to the academy in 2015.

To read the President's full speech, click here.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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