Trump: Military Force Only for 'Vital National Security'
President-elect Donald Trump introduces retired Gen. James Mattis as his appointed Secretary of Defense during a Tuesday rally in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Tuesday, 06 Dec 2016 08:29 PM
President-elect Donald Trump said he would only use military force "when it is in the vital national security of the United States" and pledged Tuesday to seek elimination of the federal budget sequester.
"We don't want to have a depleted military, because we're all over the place fighting in areas that just we shouldn't be fighting in," Trump told supporters at rally at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C., on the second stop of his "thank you" tour of battleground states. "We're going to have such a strong, powerful military. It is not going to be depleted any longer."
"We're going to have the finest equipment in the world," Trump added of the nation's armed forces. "It is going to be new. It is going to be modern. It is going to be clean. It is going to be the best.
"We're not going to be a depleted military any more."
"We will stop racing to topple foreign governments – foreign regimes that we know nothing about – that we shouldn't be involved with," the president-elect said.
"Instead, our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS. And we will."
Trump's first stop on his tour was Ohio last week — and he is scheduled to visit Iowa and Michigan later this week.
Reiterating his campaign theme of "peace through strength," Trump said he would ask Congress to eliminate the sequester that began in fiscal 2013 in his first budget request.
The automatic spending cuts, to last through 2021, have caused drastic reductions to the nation's armed forces.
"I call it 'depletion,'" Trump said. "Gets worse and worse every year.
"Not for our military."
He added a Trump administration would work with other nations that share his mission on eliminating terrorism and promoting peace because "we want to strengthen our friendships and seek out new friendships.
"Rather than a rigid dogma, we're guided by the lessons of history and desire to promote stability — stability all over."
"This destructive cycle of intervention and chaos must finally, folks, come to an end," Trump said.
"We seek harmony and goodwill among the nations of the world — and we believe that respect for mutual sovereignty helps form the basis of trust and understanding."
"But we don't want people taking advantage of us anymore," Trump warned. "We don't want countries taking advantage of us
Trump also introduced retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as nominee for Defense Secretary, whom he referred to by his nickname of "Mad Dog."
Mattis, 66, was a key commander during the Iraq invasion. He led the 1st Marine Division and later oversaw the retaking of Fallujah in 2004.
He retired from the Marines in 2013 after a 41-year career.
"This is going to be so great for us," Trump said. "He led an assault battalion in Operation Desert Storm, and you saw what happened.
"That was the way you were supposed to lead it. There was no games."
"'Mad Dog' plays no games," Trump said.
In his brief remarks, Mattis thanked Trump for "the confidence that you have shown in me."
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to return to our troops, because I know how committed they are and how devoted they are to the defense of our country, the defense of our Constitution," he said.
In other comments, Trump told the rally he would introduce his veteran's agenda, and he pledged to "see what we're going to do" to people who burn the American flag.
"We salute their sacrifice, and we salute the flag they fought to protect," Trump said as he saluted American soldiers stationed in the Tar Heel State.
"We love our flag," the president-elect continued. "And we don't like it when we see people ripping up our flag and burning our flag. We don't like it."
"And we'll see what we're going to do about that," Trump said. "OK? We're going to see."