President Trump visits Fort Drum

by Garry Watts August 17, 2018, 0:14
President Trump visits Fort Drum

President Trump signed the 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act at Fort Drum.

President Donald Trump signs the latest $717 billion defense bill without mentioning the Senator the eponymous bill is named after.

"The National Defense Authorization Act is the most significant investment in our military and our war fighters in modern history, and I'm very proud to be a big, big part of it", Trump told the soldiers in his first trip to Upstate New York as president. While Trump praised the military during his remarks at New York's Fort Drum, the president did not address McCain.

He said there was "no better place than right here at Fort Drum" to celebrate passage of the bill, which will boost military pay by 2.6%, giving service members their largest increase in nine years. "Now, again we have to call on the President to unequivocally stand strong for the United States and our allies and against Kremlin aggression", he said.

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bars F-35 deliveries to Turkey until the Pentagon delivers a report within 90 days to the appropriate congressional defence committees.

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Trump frequently publicly disparages McCain, although usually not by name. In a signing statement past year, Trump said military officers are "subordinate to the civilian leadership of the president as commander in chief".

The bill was named for one of Trump's political critics, the ailing US Senator John McCain of Arizona, but he did not mention McCain's name.

Although Trump himself never served in the military, he had the courage to attack McCain and his service. They include: $7.6 billion for 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, $85 million for 72 Black Hawk utility helicopters, and $1.56 billion for three coastal combat ships (the Navy had only requested one).

The president mocked him the same way during a speech to conservatives in February, prompting loud and angry boos from the audience at the reference to McCain. McCain hours later in a speech at a NY fundraising event.

Other than some high-profile exceptions - a signing statement on a congressional resolution on white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, for example - Trump's signing statements aren't much different from other presidents'.

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