- In a speech President Donald Trump gave to US troops and their families in South Korea, the commander-in-chief claimed his remarks was not intended to be political.
- Immediately after making the comment, Trump alleged Democrats did not support adequately funding the military.
- "I will tell you, this is not a political speech, but the Democrats were not going to give it you," Trump said. "That I can tell you."
- Trump’s comment comes just a few weeks after former acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan requested the White House to stop politicizing the military.
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In a speech President Donald Trump gave to US troops and their families at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, the commander-in-chief claimed his remarks was not intended to be political, moments before he railed against Democrats for a range of issues.
"Our equipment — whether it’s the missiles, or the planes, or the ships, or the equipment for the soldiers — It doesn’t matter. We have the best, and we have the budget to do it," Trump said to the troops on Sunday.
"And that wasn’t easy because, I will tell you, this is not a political speech, but the Democrats were not going to give it you," Trump said. "That I can tell you."
Trump immediately followed up his comment by accusing Democrats of stonewalling legislation and blaming them for ongoing domestic policy issues.
"They weren’t going to give it to you, folks," Trump said. "They weren’t going to. They want open borders and the hell with the military. That’s not good."
"But you don’t have to worry about that, do you," Trump said. "We never had it better."
Trump’s comments come just a few weeks after former acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan requested the White House to stop politicizing the military. Shanahan’s request came amid fierce backlash after the White House was discovered to have instructed Navy officials to keep the USS John McCain, a guided-missile destroyer bearing the name of the late Republican Sen. John McCain, out of sight during Trump’s tour of Japan in May.
"Our business is to run military operations and not become politicized," Shanahan said in late May. "Our job is to run the military.
Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, withdrew from consideration for the nomination to the defense secretary position in June, amid reports about his family’s troubled past with domestic violence.
The Trump administration has been accused of politicizing the military throughout his tenure. Trump’s decision to use military assets — including fighter jets and M1A1 Abrams tanks — for his "Salute to America" Fourth of July celebration in Washington, DC has been scrutinized for being too costly, creating flight restrictions at local airports, and having the potential to damage roads from using heavy vehicles.
Defense Department officials have been wary of parading the military’s arsenal through the capital, saying it resembles similar actions from the US’s rivals and could be interpreted as promoting a partisan cause, according to a New York Times report.
"I hope everybody can be there," Trump said in Osan. "It’s going to be big. We’re making it especially big because we’re more proud of our country today than we have been in many, many, many decades."
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