During a speech at a graduation Saturday, a valedictorian at a Kentucky high school pulled a fast one on the audience.
As expected from most graduation speakers, 18-year-old Ben Bowling, valedictorian of Bell County High School in Pineville, attempted to inspire the crowd with a thought-provoking quote, and attributed it to President Donald Trump.
“‘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,” Bowling said.
Following the quote, the audience cheered and applauded.
Bowling then informed the crowd, “I’m kidding. That was Barack Obama.” The quote was made by former President Obama during a 2012 commencement speech at Barnard College.
The audience quieted and someone booed.
Crowd cheers when Kentucky HS valedictorian Ben Bowling quotes Trump, then groans when he reveals the inspirational quote was actually from Barack Obama 😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/7GL14IIb1S
— ManSitChoAzzDown (@AngryManTV) June 4, 2018
“The crowd erupted in applause and before they could even finish clapping I said I was kidding and the applause quickly died,” Bowling told the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Bowling noted that he “didn’t mean anything bad” by pulling the prank, and that it was meant to be funny.
“I just thought it was a really good quote,” Bowling explained. “Most people wouldn’t like it if I used it, so I thought I’d use Donald Trump’s name. It is southeastern Kentucky after all.”
Bell County, in which Bowling’s high school is located, overwhelmingly supported Trump in the 2016 election, with nearly 80 percent of voters casting their ballots for the president.
Bowling said he has not received any backlash from his bait-and-switch quote.
Alisha Russell, a law student who attended the graduation ceremony, tweeted, “Y’all, no lie – the valedictorian just quoted Trump and everyone cheered … then he told us that it was actually an Obama quote. Best part of the day. I’m rolling.”
As for his future, Bowling plans to attend the University of Kentucky in the fall, where he will study biology.
“I’m really excited to go to college,” he said. “There’s more freedom in college and there’s also way more places to eat in Lexington.”