Monday 24 July 2017

'Economic boost will fund rise in military spend,' promises Trump

President Donald Trump, right, meets with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Also at the meeting are White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, left, and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, on the couch. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump, right, meets with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Also at the meeting are White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, left, and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, on the couch. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Emma Gatten in Washington

Donald Trump has said money to fund a major boost to defence spending will come partly from a "revved-up economy" and reimbursements from foreign countries where the US provides military assistance.

Mr Trump was discussing his first major speech to Congress, due to take place at 2am Irish time, in an interview on the 'Fox and Friends' television programme.

He was asked how the US would fund a $54bn (€50bn) spending boost to the military that Mr Trump outlined in a budget sent to Congress on Monday.

"We will be having the greatest military we have ever had when I'm finished," he said. "The money's going to come from a revved up economy.

"We're going to be doing things having to do with other countries even militarily, because we're treated very unfairly. When we help them even militarily, we're going to ask for a form of reimbursement.

"We have countries where we're taking care of their militaries and we're not being reimbursed."

He also vowed to renegotiate military contracts and to cut the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mr Trump said he would be discussing Obamacare and border control during his speech in front of Congress, which was an opportunity for him to outline his policy agenda.

"We're getting the bad people, drug lords, gang members," he said. "When they show people being taken out, these people are, we're looking at the bad ones."

After a turbulent start to his presidency, Mr Trump's speech before Congress was being closely watched for details of his plans for the economy and whether he can strike a more conciliatory tone.

White House officials said the speech would include some gestures toward unifying a country polarised by a bitterly fought election and divided in the early days of his presidency.

An average of recent polls by Real Clear Politics put his approval rating at about 44pc, low for a new president.

Mr Trump, whose inauguration speech on January 20 painted a dark picture of the United States and referred to "American carnage," told Reuters last week that his address would be a speech of optimism.

In a rare show of self-criticism, Mr Trump told 'Fox and Friends' that "maybe it's my fault" the administration's goals on immigration may not have been communicated effectively.

He was referring to the troubled rollout of his January 27 order to temporarily ban people from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the country.

Overall, Mr Trump said he had performed well in the Oval Office so far. "I think I get an A in terms of what I've actually done, but in terms of messaging, I'd give myself a C or a C+."

Invited to say how he would change the messaging, the businessman and former reality TV star said: "Maybe I change it during the speech." Mr Trump has signed a flurry of executive orders, pulled the United States out of a Pacific trade deal and nominated a conservative judge, Neil Gorsuch, to fill a vacant position on the Supreme Court. But his first month has been characterised by missteps, internal dramas and acrimonious disputes with the news media, and he has yet to score any legislative accomplishments.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News