On new warship, Trump vows hike in defense budget
President pledges boost in talk to crew of naval air carrier.
President Donald Trump pledged to boost defense spending as he basked in the nation’s military might aboard a next-generation naval aircraft carrier on Thursday.
Wearing an olive-green military jacket and blue ball cap, Trump vowed to mount “one of the largest” defense spending increases in history.
“Hopefully it’s power we don’t have to use, but if we do, they’re in big, big trouble,” Trump said.
Trump spoke from the Gerald R. Ford, a $12.9 billion warship that is expected to be commissioned this year after cost overruns and delays. He touted his spending plans, saying he would provide “the finest equipment in the world” and give the military the “tools you need to prevent war.”
The president also toured the carrier and met with sailors and military leaders
During his trip to Newport News, Trump was joined aboard Air Force One by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
A draft budget plan released earlier this week by the White House would add $54 billion to the Pentagon’s projected budget, a 10 percent increase.
The U.S. currently spends more than a half-trillion dollars on defense, more than the next seven countries combined.
Trump, in his 2016 campaign, repeatedly pledged to rebuild what he called the nation’s “depleted” military.
He often argued that the U.S. military is too small to accomplish its missions and pledged to put the Navy on track to increase its activeduty fleet to 350 ships, compared to the current Navy plan of growing from 272 ships to 308 sometime after 2020. The Gerald R. Ford will be the first of the Navy’s next generation of aircraft carriers.