U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking before a conservative political gathering, promised one of the greatest military buildups in U.S. history -- ensuring, he says, that no one in the future will ever challenge America's power.
“Nobody will dare question our military might again,” he told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 24. “We believe in peace through strength, and that’s what we’ll have.”
In a speech in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington, Trump touched on other familiar topics, railing against the news media, former President Barack Obama's signature health care reform (known as Obamacare), as well as violent crime, international terrorism, security, “embarrassing” trade deals, regulations, and taxes, and reiterating his vow to build a wall along the Mexican border.
His campaign-style speech was greeted enthusiastically by a supportive crowd, which chanted "USA, USA" at times and "Lock Her Up" when he mentioned Democrat Hillary Clinton, his rival in the 2016 presidential contest.
He said he would put in a "massive budget request" to rebuild the U.S. military and that he will order U.S. forces to intensify the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
"Nobody is going to mess with us. It will be one of the greatest military buildups in American history," he said.
He added that as “part of my pledge to restore safety for the American people,” he has directed U.S. security services to “totally obliterate Islamic State from the face of the Earth."
A key goal of his immigration crackdown will be to prevent terrorists from entering the United States, he said.
“We are going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” he told thecrowd. “Foreign terrorists will not be able to strike America if they cannot get into our country.”
He indicated "new action" soon on a second version of an executive order to restrict travel into the country from several majority-Muslim nations. His first attempt was struck down by a U.S. federal court.
Trump reiterated his vow to build a "great, great" wall along the border with Mexico to cut illegal immigration, with work to begin “soon.”
“We will build the wall soon, way ahead of schedule,” he said. “Way, way, way ahead of schedule.”
Trump spent the first several minutes of his speech resuming his attacks on the U.S. news media, once again describing journalists as “dishonest” and the “enemy of the people.”
He did add a qualifier, however, saying he was only referring to the “fake news media” and not the media as a whole.
“Nobody loves the First Amendment more than me,” he said. “It gives me the right to criticize fake news.”
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference.
Trump named CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN, which he called the “Clinton News Network,” in his attacks on news outlets.
He said the Middle East was a "mess" and in worse state than it was 15 years ago, adding that the United States had spent $6 trillion in the region.
"If our presidents had gone to the beach for 15 years, we would be in much better shape," he said.
He said Obamacare covers very few people and forced millions of people to lose the insurance policies they preferred.
"We're going to repeal and replace Obamacare," he vowed to cheers.
He also promised to remove regulations on U.S. energy production and other industries to help put people back to work.
Based on a live broadcast with additional reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP