On Thursday, President Donald Trump spoke aboard the new USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Virginia and reiterated his intention to rebuild the military. During his 15 minute speech in front sailors and the shipyard personnel, the President also vowed to bring the Navy’s aircraft carrier force to 12.
“In these troubled times, our Navy is the smallest it’s been since World War I,” President Trump said. “That’s a long time ago. In fact, I just spoke with Navy and industry leaders and have discussed my plans to undertake a major expansion of our entire Navy fleet, including having the 12-carrier Navy we need.”
Despite the Navy being required by law to have at least 11 carriers, they have been operating with only 10 with congressional approval. The USS Ford will bring the number up to 11, but Trump said he is looking to expand that number by one more.
Trump said that he and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who accompanied Trump on his trip, were doing all they could to ensure that the nation’s military members had all of the resources they need to do their jobs.
“We will give the men and women of America’s armed services the resources you need to keep us safe,” he said. “We will have the finest equipment in the world – planes, ships and everything else.”
“We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and, if required, to fight war and only do one thing: win.” Trump continued. “We’re going to start winning again.”
Trump touted the USS Ford as a “monument” to American might and added that he was standing “on 4.5 acres of combat power and sovereign U.S. territory, the likes of which there is nothing to compete.”
“Hopefully, it’s power we won’t have to use,” Trump continued. “But if we do, they are in big, big trouble.”
The USS Ford is the first of a new class of larger carriers, with the capacity to carry 70 aircraft, but has been years behind schedule. The $12.9 billion carrier has also gone billions over budget, but both the Navy and the shipyard have said they expect the next Ford-class carriers will be less expensive.
You can watch the President’s full speech aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford below: