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Donald Trump pledges ‘great rebuilding’ of military on visit to USS Gerald R. Ford

Brushing aside another political furor in his administration, President Trump visited the Navy’s new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Thursday and told sailors there will be more ships coming in his “great rebuilding” of the military.

“We will have the finest equipment in the world,” Mr. Trump said aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia. “We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and if required, to fight war and only do one thing — win. We’re going to start winning again.”

The administration’s draft budget plan released this week would add $ 54 billion to the Pentagon’s projected budget, a 10-percent increase.

The new carrier is named after the 38th president, who served in the Navy during World War II aboard a combat ship in the Pacific. His daughter, Susan, attended the event with Mr. Trump, who said the carrier was “a fitting tribute” to the late president.

The warship will support 4,500 personnel and 70 aircraft, and covers about 4.5 acres on its landing deck.

“It is a monument to American might that will provide the strength necessary to ensure peace,” Mr. Trump said. “”Hopefully it’s power we don’t have to use, but if we do, they’re in big, big trouble.”

He said the carrier “provides essential capabilities to keep us safe from terrorism and take the fight to the enemy for many years in the future.”

Mr. Trump used the trip to build momentum for his proposed military buildup that he outlined in his first address to Congress on Tuesday night. As he left Washington, however, Democrats were calling for the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for allegedly misleading lawmakers on whether he’d had any discussions with Russian officials prior to the election last year.

Some Republican lawmakers were calling on Mr. Sessions to recuse himself from a Justice Department investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election.

The president told reporters in a brief aside that he has “total” confidence in Mr. Sessions.

In his speech to sailors, the president said the Navy is “the smallest it’s been since World War I.”

“Don’t worry, it will soon be the largest it’s been,” he said, adding that he will push for “the 12-carrier Navy we need.”

In 1916, just before the U.S. entered World War I, the Navy had 245 active ships. It now has 272 active ships, although the capabilities of modern warships far exceed those of the World War I era. The current Navy plan is increase the number of ships to 308 after 2020.

The number of U.S. Navy ships peaked at 6,768 during World War II.

The PCU Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 cost about $ 12.9 billion, and is expected to be commissioned later this year after cost overruns and delays.

Mr. Trump said his administration “will make it easier for the Navy to plan for the future and thus control costs and get the best deal for the taxpayer.”

“The same boat for less money. The same airplanes for less money,” he told the sailors. “It means we’re going to get more of them.”

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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