While President Biden did not speak at Notre Dame's 2021 graduation ceremony on Sunday, the prospect of the country's second Roman Catholic commander-in-chief speaking at the event stirred controversy due to Biden's pro-abortion and other policy stances, with more than 4,000 people signing an open letter calling for Biden not to be invited.
"We, the undersigned members of the Notre Dame community and others dismayed by the pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda of President Joe Biden, having learned from your Crux interview that you are considering inviting President Biden to be Commencement speaker and, accordingly, recipient of an honorary degree, write to urge that you not do so," declared an open letter to Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C.
The Catholic News Agency reported that a Notre Dame spokesperson informed the outlet that as a policy "we do not discuss who may or may not have been approached to address our graduates," but that White House sources confirmed to the outlet that the president had been invited but could not attend because of scheduling.
"While Notre Dame has had more presidents serve as commencement speakers than any university other than the military academies, we have not always hosted a president in his first year in office--or at all," a university spokesperson said, according to the outlet.