“Our military families are a true national treasure,” President Trump told a crowd at Alaska’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.
The base served as a place for Air Force One to refuel on its way back to Washington from several days in Vietnam.
During his brief time at the base, Trump met with some U.S. troops and delivered a 20-minute speech where he praised those same troops, their military readiness, and their military capabilities.
From Military Times:
President Donald Trump showered praise on troopsand touted the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling when Air Force One made a refueling stop Thursday in Alaska as the president returned from Asia.
Trump was traveling back to Washington after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed in Vietnam.
Standing in front of an F-22 Raptor fighter jet at an Anchorage base, Trump thanked all those serving in the military in Alaska, “our country’s last frontier as America’s first line of defense.”
He noted that since World War II, Alaska-based forces have served as the top cover for North America.
Trump called the Alaska military presence a “powerful warning to the world to never strike American soil.”
“You are a warning that everybody knows about and nobody wants to play with,” the president added.
According to the Military Times, Trump said the Anchorage base will be the first recipients of 54 new F-35 stealth fighter jets “very soon.”
“He also said 20 more ground-based interceptors will be installed at Fort Greeley, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Fairbanks, to strengthen the nation’s missile defense system,” the Military Times adds.
ABC News reports Trump touted the “100 percent” defeat of ISIS in his speech to the U.S. troops.
“We just took over … you kept hearing 90 percent, 92 percent, the caliphate in Syria. Now it is 100 percent. We just took over 100 percent caliphate. That means the area of the land. We have 100 percent,” Trump said, per the report.
The president said the military generals were able to operate much more quickly under his administration than they were under the rules of engagement provided via the Obama administration. The military generals saw quick success once these guidelines were lifted, Trump claimed.
“We did that in a much shorter period of time then it was supposed to be,” Trump said. “It was supposed to take — I will not tell you what a certain general told me. But I went and met a couple of other generals. And they said how long do you think it could take, general? One week, sir. One week? I heard two years. One week, sir. Let us do it the way that we want to do it. I said: General, do it.’ And if so, what happened. We had the whole thing.”
Here’s even more, from Military Times:
Trump touted legislation to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration, an effort finalized after decades of fierce disputes between Republicans and Democrats.
The Trump administration and congressional Republicans said the drilling plan would help pay for tax cuts approved by Congress and signed by Trump in December 2017.
GOP lawmakers project at least $1 billion in revenue from drilling leases over 10 years. But environmental groups and other critics call those projections wildly optimistic, saying low global oil prices and high exploration costs are likely to limit drilling revenue.
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