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Warren takes veiled swipe at Trump in speech to new grads, says she is 'optimistic' about future

Elizabeth Warren in grad speech: Even in the midst of the president kissing up to autocrats and undermining institutions, I look out at you and am optimistic

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., took a thinly veiled swipe at President Donald Trump in a speech to new graduates of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday, telling students that even in the midst of trying times, she remains optimistic about young people's ability to effect change.

"So as politicians try to turn us against each other, as they sell out to Wall Street, to big drug companies, to big oil companies, to big student loan companies, as the President of the United States kisses up to autocrats, and undermines voting and basic democratic institutions — even in the midst of all of that, I look out at you, and I am optimistic. You have power," she said in a commencement address at the historically black college and university (HBCU).

Morgan State University is Maryland's largest HBCU.

In her address, Warren said that the government has "systematically discriminated against black people in this country," and the "rigged system" needs to be changed.

"Everyone will tell you to work hard. Teachers, parents, coaches — I agree. And under the rules of Commencement Speakers, I am required to say, work hard," Warren said to applause. "And you should. But I'm here with a bolder message: It’s time to change the rules. It’s time to change the rules."

Those rules, Warren continued, "didn't rig themselves."

"The rules are rigged because the rich and the powerful have bought and paid for too many politicians," Warren said. "And if we dare to ask questions, they will try to divide us. Pit white working people against black and brown working people, so that they won't ban together and demand real change."

She continued by saying, "It's always up to us, you and me, and there's a lot more of us than there is of them."

Warren, who was met with a standing ovation during the ceremony, was also awarded an honorary degree from the university.