Trump: New Carrier Sends ‘100,000-Ton Message to the World’ of U.S. Might
President says commissioning of USS Gerald R. Ford renews 'commitment to a future of American greatness'
President Donald Trump called on Congress “to do its job” and “end the defense sequester once and for all” by passing a budget with $54 billion in additional defense spending Saturday, as he participated in the commissioning ceremony for the nation’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, in Norfolk, Virginia.
The new carrier, named for former President Ford, represents the kind of investment in national security the administration will continue to make, the president declared.
“For years our government has subjected the military to unpredictable funding and a devastating defense sequester,” Trump said. “This has led to deferred maintenance, a lack of investment in new equipment and technology, and a shortfall in military readiness.”
“Now we need Congress to do its job and pass the budget that provides for higher, stable and predictable funding levels for our military needs that our fighting men and women deserve and you will get, believe me,” he added. “But I don’t mind getting a little hand. So call that congressman and call that senator and make sure you get it. And by the way, you can also call those senators to make sure you get health care.”
Noting that “having the best technology and equipment is only one part of the American military dominance,” Trump said that the United States’ “true strength is our people.”
“Our greatest weapon is all of you. Our nation endures because we have citizens who love America and who are willing to fight for America,” he said. “We are so very blessed with warriors who are willing to serve America in the greatest fighting force in history — the United States military.”
Promising that the “defense sequester” that has handicapped the U.S. military will come to an end, the president promised that the $54 billion he requested for defense spending in the 2018 budget would be handled with responsible stewardship.
“We must end the defense sequester once and for all. We must also reform defense acquisitions to ensure that we are getting the best equipment at the best prices so that our dollars are used only for the best interests of our country and those who serve,” Trump said.
“This is the very least we can do for the patriots who have volunteered to give their sweat, their blood and — if they must — their very lives for our great nation,” the president added. “The commissioning of this new American carrier marks the renewal of our commitment to a future of American greatness — greater than ever before, remember that.”
Construction on the $12.9 billion state-of-the-art and nuclear-powered USS Ford began in 2009 and was set for completion in September 2015, but experienced delays and complications.
Trump praised the “American steel” and “American hands” used to craft the new carrier, saying that “wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming, and America is coming strong.”
“American steel and American hands have constructed a 100,000-ton message to the world: American might is second to none, and we’re getting bigger and better and stronger every day of my administration. That I can tell you,” he said.
Trump also offered praise for the nation’s 38th president, noting that Ford “embodied American values like few others” and exemplified “love of family, love of freedom, and, most of all, love of country.” And that love of country, he said, included Congress “fulfilling its duty to you” and supporting U.S. defense.
“[Ford] knew that patriotism is the heartbeat of a nation. He knew that we must love out country in order to protect it. And he knew that we must have pride in our history if we are going to have confidence in our future,” Trump said. “The men and women of America’s armed services are part of a living history. You uphold timeless customs and traditions, and you protect our nation and our freedom for the next generation to come. You are fulfilling your duty to this nation, and now it is the job of our government to fulfill its duty to you.”