Donald Trump and Vice President Biden spent their Sunday evenings in an unusual mode: sitting quietly and listening to other people talk. Both came to the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field, with heavy security but little fanfare, for the College of Arts & Science’s commencement ceremony.
For Trump, the ceremony was all about Tiffany Trump, his daughter with ex-wife Marla Maples, who also attended the commencement. Biden was there for his granddaughter Naomi Biden, the first of the family’s third generation to graduate from college. The presence of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and the vice president meant motorcades and security perimeters for thousands of parents and assorted guests.
It also attracted a large media retinue, which set up about one-quarter of the way down from Trump and Biden, zooming in for “Where’s Waldo” shots of the proud parent and grandparent. Trump arrived first, to modest applause, pausing briefly to greet the parents around him and waving whenever a gawker pointed a camera at him. Biden arrived 12 minutes later, to loud, echoing cheers. When some unexpected rain fell, Trump disappeared beneath an umbrella, while Biden kept shaking hands.
Sunday’s commencement ceremonies were the third that Trump had attended at the University of Pennsylvania, not counting his own storied graduation in 1968. His oldest children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, attended the school, and Trump has remained a benefactor. Last year, after his presidential bid took off, several Wharton alumni said that they’d been discouraged from talking to the news media about their famous classmate.
There was little danger of loose talk on Sunday. Members of the Secret Service stood watch around Biden and Trump, neither of whom was mentioned from the stage by a succession of speakers.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · David Weigel