Trump Salutes Air Force 70th, Calls for End of Sequester

President Donald Trump offered 70th birthday greetings and praise to the Air Force on Friday, saying the service is the “most technologically advanced fighting force on the planet” and pledging to help it remain that way through targeted funding.

Speaking at JB Andrews, Md., at a joint-service air show, Trump asserted that his administration has added $20 billion to the defense budget, “and we’re going to be doing much more than that.” He said cuts to the Air Force over 26 years, and the? halving of its fighter squadrons—even as the service has been in combat every one of those years—is “terrible” and promised his efforts to “end the defense sequester once and for all. And that is happening.”

Singling out North Korea as a key adversary, Trump said that nation’s showing of “contempt for its neighbors” is unacceptable, and after reviewing USAF’s capabilities, “I am very confident that … our options are effective and overwhelming” if military action in that crisis is required. “There is nothing that inspires more confidence in our friends, or more fear in our enemies, than the sight of American warplanes on the horizon,” he said, adding that the Air Force is unmatched in it ability to “deliver justice to anyone who threatens our people.”

Trump also praised the Air Force’s efforts at bringing relief and medical care to those devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

There will be “rebuilding of the armed forces” during his tenure, Trump promised. Over and above technology, Trump said airmen are “our greatest weapon” because of their courage and devotion to duty. He also praised airmen’s “sparkle and desire to do good, … the desire to overcome any obstacle, … and win for your fellow citizens.” Trump said, “I am always on your wing” and thanked the service for “keeping us proud, strong, safe, and free.”