May 25, 2019

Mike Pence: West Point grads should expect to see combat

Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence told the 2019 graduating class of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Saturday that the world is a "dangerous place" and the graduates should expect to witness combat in the future.

The big picture: Pence also told the graduates that some of them will "join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq," as the U.S. prepares to send thousands of troops to the Middle East amid growing tensions with Iran.

What he's saying:

  • Pence said that President Trump "will always have your back" as they get ready to "join the fight."
  • He also shared that Trump proposed the largest defense budget in U.S. history as the nation "is once again embracing our role as the leader of the free world."
  • The vice president noted the diversity of the graduating class — which has the largest number of graduating African American women in the Academy's history.

Watch Pence's commencement speech:

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The pandemic shows why we're never ready for the big one

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As the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases passed 1 million on Friday, two words sum up the U.S. response to the coronavirus: not enough. Not enough hospital beds, not enough ventilators, not enough protective equipment. Not enough preparation.

Why it matters: COVID-19 has demonstrated our normal defenses aren't enough in the face of a low-probability, but high-consequence catastrophe.

U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

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New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in a single day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

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World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

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Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday, as the global death toll surpassed 60,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

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