SAN PEDRO, California—GOP frontrunner Donald Trump rallied roughly 1,000 veterans on the USS Iowa battleship, declaring, “the silent majority—believe me—is back.”
Americans are pushing back against failed government, he said. “We’re doing something special. This is a movement—we are going to make our country great again.”
“I don’t think we have to call it a silent majority anymore… they’re not silent,” Trump stated.
Trump also rolled out a series of policy commitments.
He said he’ll soon release his plan to rebuild the military after years of budget cuts. “We’re going to be building up our military,” he declared at the fundraiser for veterans, which was held on the World War II warship, which has played host to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and President Bush Sr.
“We’re going to make our military so big and so strong and so great,” he vowed. “It will be so powerful that I don’t think we’re ever going to have to use it. Nobody is going to mess with us.”
Trump also promised to rebuild the Department of Veterans Affairs. “I am with the veterans one-hundred percent,” he vowed. Long waits at VA hospitals won’t happen if he’s president. “We’re going to create a whole new system, we’re going to take the system apart, and if they’re not doing the job, the veterans are going to go to private doctors, private hospitals, public hospitals. And we’re going to reimburse those doctors and those hospitals,” Trump explained, sketching his plan to improve veterans’ care.
He promised a more successful foreign policy against Russia and Iran. “We’re going to have a president who’s respected by Putin, who’s respected by Iran,” Trump stated.
He also promised a tougher line against Iran’s theocratic leader. “Obama and his people call him the Supreme Leader of Iran… Well, I’m not calling him the Supreme Leader.” Obama’s nuke agreement with Iran “is one of the dumbest deals,” and “one of the weakest contracts” he’s ever seen.
He also vowed again to build a wall on the southern border and have Mexico pay for it.
The other GOP candidates can’t make good deals, he said. “It’s an instinct. It’s something that’s special—they don’t have it.”
Joel Arends, the President of Veterans for a Strong America—the organization that hosted the event—announced his group’s endorsement of Trump. “2016 is too important to not take a stand,” Arends stated. “Now, it’s time for us to return the favor for someone who will take a stand for us.”
“I not only want a president with courage, I want a Commander-in-Chief with courage. That’s why tonight I’m proud to stand here and introduce to you the man Veterans for a Strong America endorses to become the next president,” he announced to the almost 1,000 attendees.
“You hear those folks over there,” Arends stated, pointing out some protestors standing on the quay. “We fought for their right to be there.”
A couple hundred protesters chanted loudly, “Dump that Trump” and held signs calling Trump a racist for promising to enforce the nation’s popular border laws. Arends said he started Veterans for a Strong America in 2010 because “politicians are not listening to the veterans.”