President Donald Trump delivered a Memorial Day speech aboard the USS Wasp on Monday, currently deployed in the Pacific.
“Our Republic endures because of brave men and women who are willing to lay down their lives to defend us all,” he said to the troops gathered on the ship. “Our freedom is earned through the blood and sweat and toil and sacrifice of great American patriots just like you.”
The president and first lady traveled to the ship after completing their visit to Japan.
Trump honored the fallen warriors of the Armed Forces, recognizing the historic importance of Memorial Day in the United States.
“Memorial Day links every grateful American heart, an eternal tribute to those brave souls who gave their last breath for our nation,” Trump said.
Trump praised the armed forces deployed in the Pacific, noting that their service was appreciated by Americans at home.
“The citizens of our country are incredible, they love our country and they love you,” he told the troops. “You have no idea how much they love you.”
The troops cheered Trump throughout the speech as he gave special shoutouts to the various branches and ships deployed in the region.
“You are the strongest, toughest, best, and bravest,” he said.
He pointed to the historic levels of military funding for the armed forces, including funding for missile ships, nuclear submarines, and fighter jets.
“No more millions, not when it comes to our military … it used to be millions, now it’s billions,” he said. “And that’s the way it has to be.”
During the speech, Trump asked the troops aboard the ship about whether they preferred the steam catapult or the electric system for launching airplanes off of carriers.
The Marines and sailors cheered the steam system the loudest, prompting Trump to wonder why the more complex, more expensive electric system was being implemented on the ships.
“We want to go with steam. They’re always coming up with new ideas, they’re making planes so complex they can’t fly them,” he said, prompting chuckles from some in the crowd. “They want a show … we all want innovation, but it’s too much.”