PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump chose Philadelphia’s historic Union League for a speech Wednesday on defense, where he promised to increase spending on the military.
Trump noted that the Pentagon’s budget has gone from $554-billion in 2010 to $548-billion.
“And that figure is going down very rapidly into the future,” he said, “unless I become your president.”
Trump blamed the cuts on the “sequester,” that is, automatic budget cuts, and said he would end it, which is something President Obama has also tried to do. He said he would get additional money to enlarge the military through increased payments from NATO nations and others.
“I will be respectfully asking countries, such as Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, to pay more for the tremendous security we provide them,” he told those in attendance.
He promised to increase force levels to numbers recommended by the Heritage Foundation, add a cyber command and revive missile defense, even though most security officials believe smaller scale terror attacks are a greater danger. Trump insisted the missile threat is out there.
“We don’t know where to look,” Trump said, “but believe me, you could look all over.”
Trump said his first move as president would be to give his generals 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS.
The speech was low-key and carefully scripted, the invite-only audience was also subdued, though they gave a standing ovation when Trump promised a united country “saluting one American flag.”