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President Donald Trump Signs $716 Bill Named After Senator John McCain. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired August 13, 2018 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She called me so many times. I said I don't want to take her call. She wanted me to be here. I said, I won't be able to. We would have to change a lot of scheduling. But that didn't suit her. She didn't stop. And here I am. Here I am. Elise, come here. Come here, Elise.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. President. It is truly an honor to welcome you to Fort Drum, home of the historic 10th mountain division, the most deployed unit in the U.S. army since 9/11. Thank you for being here to sign the historic national defense authorization act, which includes the largest pay increase, support for our military families, and investing in our military readiness. Climb to glory 10th mountain division. Thank you.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: She is an incredible representative.

I also want to thank representatives Don Baker, Dan Donovan, and Joe Wilson who are with us today also. Thank you. Where are you? Stand up, please.

Thank you. Thank you, fellows.

All right. There is another member of Congress here today who is not only an air force veteran, but the first woman ever to fly a fighter jet in combat in U.S. history. And I have gotten to know her very well. And she is terrific. Congresswoman Martha McSally.

Congresswoman. Thank you, Martha. Thank you for being here.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you all for fighting for our military and for fighting for our vets. Nobody has made more progress on anything than what we have done with our vets. We have choice approved. You know that. We have so many other things approved for our vets. It's really moving along well. And I think maybe almost as important as choice is accountability. Now when we find somebody not treating our vets properly, you know what we say, right? You are out. Get out. You are fired. Get out. They couldn't do that. They couldn't do that. Now they can do it. Now they have to treat our vets properly. Our vets are our great

people, and they get treated properly. So you have choice and you have accountability. And nobody thought that would ever get approved. They have been trying for many, many decades.

Finally, I want to thank a very special group of patriots at Fort Drum. All of the amazing spouses and family members whose love and support make your service possible, whether you like it or not, they make it possible. Please, thank you. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: They know. They know. Right? Look at him. He's smiling. They know.

Last year, we secured a historic $700 billion to rebuild our military. And now the national defense authorization act paves the way for another 1700 -- listen to this now. So we have been trying to get money. They never gave us money for the military for years and years and it was depleted. We got $700 billion. And next year, already approved, we have $716 billion to give you the finest planes and ships and tanks and missiles anywhere on earth. Nobody makes them like we do. And very, very far distant in this case -- jobs are very important in all cases. But in this case, military might is more important than even jobs. But all this equipment is made right here in the USA and it's the best equipment on earth. Nobody makes it like we do. So you have $700 billion and now $716 billion. So congratulations.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: America is a peaceful nation. But if conflict is forced upon us, we will fight, and we will win. Right, general? Right? Right? You better believe it, generals. There are the guys. We are powered by the unstoppable force of the United States army. Very special. With this new authorization, we will increase the size and strength of our military by adding thousands of new recruits to active duty, reserve, and National Guard units, including 4,000 new active duty soldiers. And we will replace aging tanks, aging planes and ships, with the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed. And hopefully we will be so strong we will never have to use it. But if we ever did, nobody has a chance.

It all includes 135 brand-new beautiful M-1 Abrams tanks, 60 Bradley fighting vehicles and over 3,000 joint light tactical vehicles for the army armored brigade combat team, new Blackhawk and apache helicopters, fine nest the world for the army national gave, 77 f-35 joint strike fighters. You any, that's stealth. I talked to a couple of pilots, great pilots. I said, how are they? They said it's hard to beat because you can't see them. It is always hard to beat the enemy when you can't see them.

The greatest in the world, full funding for the B-21 raider bomber program, 13 new battle force ships and support ships including a fourth class aircraft carrier and three additional lateral combat ships. Funding to modernize our nuclear arsenal is so important. We are

doing a major upgrade of our missile defense. We are spending a tremendous amount of money on our nuclear arsenal. Nobody will have close. We will hopefully never ever have to use it. But nobody will be close. More than $11 billion for the military construction, including family housing, and we are proudly giving our troops the biggest pay increase in a decade. And I know you don't want it because you are very patriotic, you will say just save the money, pay down the debt.

Does anybody not want it? Please raise your hand. What's going on here? Are these real patriots? I don't know, general. I don't know. It is the biggest increase in a decade. A strong military also requires a strong economy, and our economy is setting records like never before. We have the greatest economy we have ever had. I think that's going to help us a lot, in a lot of ways. It also helps us a lot in funding and doing all of the great things we are doing for our great military.

We have created almost four million new jobs since the election, a number that the media in the back would never have said would be possible if during the campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

[15:08:14] TRUMP: I'm so proud of myself. I didn't call them the fake news media. I didn't call them. I said to myself, I will not today in front of our great armed forces call them fake news. We know the real truth, but we won't say it today. But they wouldn't have believed it possible, four million new jobs. Nobody would have thought that possible on the campaign trial.

If when we were campaigning Mike, if I would have said that -- if I would have said two million new jobs, people would have laughed us off the stage. Well, we have four million new jobs. Something I'm very proud of, the African-American, Hispanic, Hispanic-American, and Asian, Asian-American. The unemployment rates for all three have reached the lowest levels in the history of our country. Unemployment for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian, the lowest level in the history of our country.

Women's unemployment is not, I'm sorry, doing quite as well. It's only the lowest level in 65 years. So we are not doing as well. But we will do better. I think within about three weeks, when the new numbers come out, you will probably be lowest in history also.

Very importantly, the veterans unemployment rate recently reached its lowest level in nearly 20 years. That's a big one.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And we are creating manufacturing jobs again. Remember during the campaign they said oh, you can't create manufacturing jobs. I said, really? We are not going to make things anymore? Is that what it has come to? We are going to have other countries make things? They are going to make thing and we are going to buy them. And they are going to have the jobs -- it doesn't work that way.

We are doing manufacturing jobs at the fastest pace in many, many decades. No longer are we apologizing for America. Instead, we are now standing up for America. It's called America first, if that's OK with you.

(APPLAUSE)

[15:10:36] TRUMP: We are standing up for our military. And we are standing up for our great American flag. We are standing for our flag.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The armed forces have endured continuous combat for the past 17 years. Yet since the 1990s, the number of soldiers on active duty was cut by more than one third. Our bases and vital equipment were allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. And I saw some of them. Total disrepair.

But those days are over. Every day, the army is fighting for us. And now, we are fighting for you, 100 percent.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: No one better understands how stretched our military has become than the soldiers of the 10th mountain division. Is that right, general? You were the first conventional combat force to deploy after 9/11. Since then, no division in the army has been deployed more times to Iraq and Afghanistan than you. You have sent over 9,000 courageous soldiers to 26 different countries all around the world in the past year alone. The 2nd bringing aid combat team just returned from a rotation at the joint readiness training center. And later this year, they will once again bravely answer our nation's call and deploy to Afghanistan.

Through it all, you have proven to the world, to our country, to your families, that Fort Drum soldiers around just tough. You're mountain tough. That's what you are. Mountain tough.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I said to your general, what's the difference? He said, sir, trust me, there's a difference. So I said I trust you general, right? I said don't go into it. I trust you.

One of those soldiers is specialist Braden Cook, who is with us today. Where is Braden? Oh, Braden good location, Braden.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Last October, his team came under heavy fire while cleaning and clearing -- clearing them out, Taliban strongholds in various locations in Afghanistan. An Afghanistan soldier fighting alongside U.S. troops was badly wounded when an explosive detonated nearby. Specialist Cook braved the hale of bullets and mortar rounds all over -- they said it was all over. It was heavy fire, saving the life of that wounded soldier, and earning a bronze star for valor for his courageous action.

Braden, I want to thank you. A brave young man. Thank you. Please stands up again, Braden.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We are also inspired by the devotion to duty shown by the family members who serve their nation here at home. Ashley Shepard is one of those family members. She's been married to sergeant first class Ian Shepard for more than 14 years. Ashley supports military families in every way you can imagine. She has served as a family readiness group leader, co-leader, treasurer and assistant treasurer for three companies. She works hard. She raises money for scholarships, organizes charity events for gold star families and teach homeless veterans.

Ashley, I want to thank you. Ashley? Where is Ashley? I had a feeling that was you. Stand up, Ashley.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank your husband, too. Thank you.

America is eternally grateful for every soldier, service member, and family member here at Fort Drum. And we are forever in the debt of every American who has ever served our nation in uniform. From the snows of valley forge to the jungles of Vietnam and the mountains of Afghanistan, it's just incredible what you do.

A few days ago, vice president Pence flew to Hawaii to greet the remains of some of our nation's greatest heroes. Our fallen warriors who gave their lives many years ago in Korea. Now these American heroes are finally starting to come home. They will be laid to rest on American soil. We believe in no American left behind.

(APPLAUSE)

[15:16:05] TRUMP: And we believe our war fighters deserve the tools, the equipment, and resources they have earned with their blood, sweat, and tears. In a few moments, in honor of that sacred obligation, I will put my signature on the national defense authorization act. This authorization will give America's war fighters the fire power they need to win any conflict quickly and decisively.

Thanks to the leadership of representative Stefan (ph).

We are also making an unprecedented commitment to developing our artificial intelligence capabilities. In order to maintain America's military supremacy, we must always be on the cutting edge. That is why we are also proudly reasserting America's legacy of leadership in space. Our foreign competitors and adversaries have already begun weaponizing space, developing new technologies to disrupt vital communications, blind satellites and just -- I mean, you look at what they are doing. They have given me rundowns. I have seen things that you don't even want to see what they are doing and how advanced they are. We will be catching them very shortly.

They want to jam transmissions which threaten our battlefield operations and so many other things. We will be so far ahead of them in a very short period of time, your head will spin. China even launched a new military division to oversee its war fighting programs in space. Just like the air, the land, the sea, space has become a war fighting domain.

It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. And that is why just a few days ago the vice president outlined my administration's plan to create a sixth branch of the United States military called the United States space force.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Got to get it, Joe. Got to get it, Joe. Right, Joe? Right?

We will ensure that the next great chapter in history is written by the heroes of the United States military. America will always rise to every challenge, and overcome every danger because we are backed by the strength and power of the American soldier.

Speaking to his troops, General George Patton, a great one, once said, we have the finest equipment and the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Now, if it were today, he would be saying the best men and women this the world. Things do change. But that was quite a statement many years ago. Continuing his remarks, Patton then declared, I don't want to get any messages saying I am holding my position.

We are not holding a damn thing. We are advancing constantly. That was Patton. Nearly 75 years later, Patton's words still ring true. America has the best equipment anywhere in the world. We have the best spirit. The best soldiers ever to set foot on any battlefield anywhere at any time. We are the most powerful. We are the best funded. We are the biggest. We are the strongest. We are the smartest. And we are still not holding a damn thing, because America is on the move once again. And we are not backing down.

Our country is respected again. I don't know if you see it, but America is respected again. It is a big difference, and a big difference in the air. You take a look around. There is a big, beautiful difference.

We are advancing forward with our confidence renewed, our might restored, and the unwavering conviction that our destiny is our victory. America's future is safe, sound, and brighter than ever because each of you is mountain tough, mountain proud, and mountain strong. And always will be climbing to glory. You will be climbing to glory.

Thank you again for the incredible men and women of Fort Drum. Special, special, great people. God bless our troops. And God bless the United States of America. I would now like to invite a few of our fantastic soldiers from the

10th mountain division 2nd bringing aid combat team to join me on stage to sign the national defense authorization act. It's been an honor to be with you today. Thank you all very much. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

[15:21:36] TRUMP: This is it. I will just sign it. We won't be here a long time. OK. That's good, right?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. Great honor. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right. So the President there just signed this $716 billion defense bill using the event not only of course to talk about the military, the home of the 10th mountain division there in Fort Drum, but to get political, which sadly and unsurprisingly at this point in time included an attack on the media.

And Kevin Liptak is there. And Kevin Liptak is our White House producer.

And Kevin, you wouldn't know that this national defense authorization act is named after Senator John McCain because I did not hear as the President was hailing or war heroes -- he is a hero. Didn't mention his name once.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: No. No. McCain's name didn't come out of the President's mouth during this speech. As you mentioned, this $716 billion bill is actually named after Senator John McCain. He of course the chairman of the Senate armed services committee for the past several years. He has been a leading proponent of getting this national defense authorization act through the Senate. It is a yearly bill. So there is always quite a bit of wrangling. McCain has always been a proponent of that.

But the President of course sustained this ongoing feud with McCain going back to his campaign. He alludes to him not by name but alludes to him at nearly every campaign rally he is at making mention the no vote McCain cast on the proposed Obamacare overhaul. Ever sine the President in a very, very early days of his campaign. Denigrated McCain's war service. And questioning whether he was actually a war hero since he was captured.

And so, perhaps it is not surprising that the President didn't mention his name. But certainly, it is striking for a bill that senators and congressmen went out of their way to name for their colleague to sort of elude and honor the fact that he played this role going back years.

Some things that are included in this bill is increases pay for service members. It boosts spending on military equipment. We should also say this bill also authorizes the military parade that the President has ordered the Pentagon to put together for late they are year.

So a lot is included in here. The Senate and the House passed it well ahead of schedule. It is the first time in maybe even more than a decade that that has happened. So the President signing this. There was really no question that he would sign it, getting some time in front of the troops.

There was that sort of striking moment when the President made mention of the fake news. He said he was proud of himself that he didn't call us the fake news, for not mentioning the jobs numbers back in the campaign. But of course by not mentioning it he mentioned it. He got a few hoots and hollers there in the crowd. Not all that surprising at this point anymore for the President.

[15:25:00] BALDWIN: Of course. But no mention of the man, the war hero, the American hero whose name is on this bill, Senator John McCain. So we will say it once again.

Kevin Liptak, thank you so much for that.

Coming up next, President Trump goes on his Twitter rant about former White House aide Omarosa calling her wacky and a low life. This after she release as new tape of her conversation with the President himself after she was fired. We will talk about whether what she did was in fact even legal.

And the FBI agent who wrote anti-Trump text messages has now been fired. President Trump calls it long overdue but Peter Strzok's lawyer says all Americans should be alarmed.

And later, shocking allegations of domestic abuse against Congressman Keith Ellison. Hear how the Democratic leader is responding to the claims from his ex-girlfriend.

You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

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