Valedictorian Ben Bowling bestowed some words of wisdom to his Kentucky high school early Saturday morning, though in a decidedly un-valedictorian manner; Bowling incorrectly cited his sources.
“‘Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.’ – Donald J. Trump.” The audience at Bell County High school ― a county where Trump won 79.9 percent of the vote in 2016 ― erupted in cheers. The applause was deafening for a split second, until Bowling cut them off to reveal that the astute words were actually spoken by former President Barack Obama.
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding. That was Barack Obama,” Bowling said, as the noise immediately died down. Some people laughed, a couple applauded, and least one loud “boo” echoed through the hall.
Bowling told Courier Journal that he “didn’t mean anything bad” by his stunt. “The crowd erupted in applause and before they could even finish clapping I said I was kidding and the applause quickly died,” said the recent grad.
“I just thought it was a really good quote. Most people wouldn’t like it if I used it, so thought I’d use Donald Trump’s name. It is southeastern Kentucky after all,” added Bowling.
Though there was “some collective groaning” in response to Bowling’s little prank, he told the Courier that he did not face any real backlash to his speech, passing on the following sensible advice to his fellow graduates: “Try not to be too nervous about it. For the most part, if you’ve been successful up to this point, there’s nothing to worry.”