Trump vows to end overseas ‘intervention & chaos,’ rebuild ‘depleted’ US military
Speaking at the latest stop on his “thank you” tour of swing states, President-elect Donald Trump told a crowd in Fayetteville, North Carolina that he wants to “strengthen old friendships and seek out new friendships,” stressing that the US will “stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with.”
“We don’t want to have a depleted military because we’re all over the place fighting in areas that we shouldn’t be fighting in. It’s not going to be depleted any longer,” he said during the Tuesday event.
He spoke of the need to spend money “on ourselves” rather than continuing to run up an extremely costly tab in the Middle East.
“We’ve spent, at last count, $6 trillion in the Middle East, and our roads have potholes all over, our highways are falling apart, our bridges are falling, our tunnels are no good, our airports are horrible like third world countries,” Trump said. “We’re going to start spending on ourselves, but we’ve got to be so strong militarily like we’ve never ever been before.”
Although Trump vowed to build up the “depleted” military, he said it would be done “not as an act of aggression, but as an act of prevention.”
“In short, we seek peace through strength,” he said.
He went on to stress that the focus of the US military should be on defeating terrorism and destroying Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), promising that the goal would be achieved under his administration.
Also on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama took a much different stance during his final national security speech, defending his legacy of fighting IS – despite continuous criticism by Trump.
“Today the results are clear,” Obama said, crediting the US-led coalition of countries battling IS, and claiming that it has lost more than half its territory and faces a dwindling recruitment effort.
Trump has been critical of Obama’s approach towards IS, claiming he is waging a “politically correct” war against the terrorist group, and criticizing his refusal to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism” after the Orlando massacre.
The president-elect also accused Obama of being the “founder of ISIS” at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida rally in August.
“In fact, in many respects, you know, they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS, OK?” he said at the time.
Trump’s Tuesday comments were made during the latest stop of his “thank you” tour of swing states which were vital to his win. He will continue the tour in Iowa and Michigan later this week.