In the first months of his presidency, Mr. Trump visited the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, and promised to work to “upgrade” ships and submarines and seek more money for the sailors who operate them.
“We’ll have by far the most powerful nuclear force on Earth, and it’ll be absolutely in perfect shape and condition,” Mr. Trump told the sailors on the ship that day. “And hopefully, praise be to God, we don’t ever have to use it. But there will be nobody that’s even close.”
In his remarks at the commencement on Friday, Mr. Trump took note of the carrier Ford as he touted the size and strength of the country’s naval forces, including what he said will eventually be “355 beautiful ships” in the fleet.
“We’re building that modern fleet,” he said. “We’re sharpening the fighting edge of everything.”
As president, Mr. Trump signed a $1.3 trillion government spending bill that dramatically increased the amount of money for the military. At the signing, the president complained that he did not want to sign the legislation because it failed to close immigration loopholes or provide enough money for a wall along the border with Mexico.
But he said the money for the military was enough to convince him to sign the bill anyway.
“It increases total defense spending by more than $60 billion from last year, and funds the addition of critically needed ships, planes, helicopters, tanks and submarines,” he said during brief remarks after signing the spending bill. “We have submarines being built the likes of which — there’s nothing anywhere in the world like the submarines we build.”
“Therefore,” he added, “as a matter of national security I’ve signed this omnibus budget bill.”
Mr. Trump has also promised repeatedly to help veterans by reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, a long-struggling bureaucracy. He succeeded in pushing through some bipartisan legislation aimed at improving service delivery to veterans.
During his remarks at the Naval Academy, Mr. Trump underscored those successes. He said new legislation would allow employees of the Veterans Affairs department to be quickly fired if they are not doing a good job of caring for the health and well-being of veterans.