He met with the generals but had lunch with the troops.
President Donald Trump made his first visit to the headquarters of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Florida.
After Air Force One touched down at the base and he was greeted by brass, he joked with enlisted personnel as he had lunch with them.
Fox News reported:
New video shows President Donald Trump having lunch with troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. pic.twitter.com/ANiBqAmX6P
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 6, 2017
“Look at this guy,” he said of one. “Strong guy. Think I can lift as much as you? I don’t think so,” he joked at the table.
He was told that many of those at the table entered the service after 9/11.
“Gonna make it a career?” Trump asked one person. “C’mon, you have to stay,”
— Michael Delauzon (@MichaelDelauzon) February 5, 2017
The president made the detour to MacGill on his way back to Washington after spending his first weekend while in office at his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach estate.
Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, introduced Trump afterward to an enthusiastic crowd, where the president delivered a few prepared remarks.
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“I want every military family in this country to know that our administration is at your service,” he told the gathering. “We stand with you 100 percent. We will protect those who protect us, and we will never, ever let you down.”
The audience included not only officers of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, but also Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
He said that the president’s highest calling is the protection of the American people and the military’s central role of that mission.
“You’ve shed your blood across the continents and the oceans,” he said of the men and women in CENTCOM and SOCOM. “You’ve engaged the enemy on distant battlefield, toiled in the burning heart and bitter cold and sacrificed everything so that we can remain safe and strong and free.”
He referred to the administration’s commitment to the military a “sacred bond” that will never be forgotten.
And part of that commitment is rebuilding the decimated military to defeat “radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said.
“We will defeat them,” he promised.
Referring to his temporary ban on immigration from seven terror-infused countries, Trump said we will not allow those to enter “who want to destroy us and destroy our country.”
He closed with a quote from President George Washington.
“To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”
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