ANNAPOLIS, Md. — President Donald Trump stressed U.S. military might as he addressed graduates at the Naval Academy on Friday, saying the “best way to prevent war is to be fully prepared for war.”
Trump spoke to the 2018 graduating class in Annapolis, stressing American military preparedness a day after he canceled a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Our country has regained the respect that we used to have long ago,” said Trump, who did not mention North Korea in his remarks. “Yes, they are respecting us again. America is back.”
Trump drew a mixed response as he spoke to 1,042 newly commissioned ensigns and second lieutenants, drawing applause and silence at times as he emphasized his efforts to boost federal defense spending.
Said Trump: “We have begun the great rebuilding of the U.S. military.”
“We know that the best way to prevent war is to be fully prepared for war, and hopefully we never have to use all of this beautiful new, powerful new equipment,” Trump said.
At the conclusion of his remarks, Trump said that he planned to remain at the graduation to shake each graduate’s hand.
Before leaving for the address, Trump said on Twitter said he looks “forward to being with some of the greatest people on earth!”
This marked Trump’s first time speaking to the academy’s graduating class. Last year, Trump addressed the Coast Guard Academy.
While praising the dedication and accomplishments of the Navy and Marine Corps’ newest officers, Trump did repeat this assertion regarding military pay: “We just got to a big pay raise for the first time in 10 years. We got to a big pay increase, first time in over 10 years.”
Service members have received annual pay raises for decades.
Trump also stated that the Navy would “very soon ... get to 355 beautiful ships,” though forecasts don’t call for that number to be reached until the 2050s.