President Trump visited and addressed the Coast Guard in Riviera Beach, Florida, on Thanksgiving morning. Here's a transcript of his words:
It is an honor to be here. I have to tell you, you know. The Coast Guard always respected, but if you're looking at it as a brand, there's no brand that went up more than the Coast Guard with what happened in Texas, and I would say in particular, Texas has been incredible. You saved 16,000 lives. Nobody knows that. 16,000 lives. In fact when I first heard the number, I said, you mean like 600? 500? 16,000 lives in Texas.
So as bad as that hurricane was, and that was bad one. That was a big water job, right? It kept coming in and going back, they couldn't get rid of it. They'd never seen it. I guess it was the biggest water dump they've ever seen. But when you've got 16,000...
[inaudible, Trump turns around to face the crowd] ...big groups of people...
[inaudible, Trump turns back around] but when you've got 16,000, that's really something. And then Florida hit. And you know that went very well, you know that went pretty well, right? The job you did in Florida. And then Puerto Rico. I really mean that, I think that there's no brand of any kind, I'm not just talking about a military brand, that's gone up more than the Coast Guard. Incredible people. You've done an incredible job. I love coming in here and doing this with you today. I think it's — we have to keep you very well fed. This is good stuff. It's an honor. This is the first lady, you know.
[Melania Trump: Happy Thanksgiving.]
We went together to Texas and we saw what you were doing. You just followed that storm, right next to that storm. You saved so many people. I still haven't figured out how people take their boats out into a hurricane. Someday you'll explain it. Jean was just telling me they actually do it to save their boat in many cases. They're not thinking about their life. They're thinking about their boats. They go out in a boat and think I guess they've got a wonderful boat. They've had it for years. It can weather anything and then they have 25-foot waves crashing down. And that would be the end of that. You saved a lot of people. I want to thank you. On behalf of the whole country and on behalf of us, what a job you've done. Thank you all very much.
I'll also take questions. Should we leave the media here to do the questions or should we tell the media? It's Thanksgiving. Let's let the media stay. Anybody have any questions about the country, how we're doing or any of those things? Wow. I love it when you don't. That means you're doing great. I love that. That's the greatest. The press I know doesn't have any questions. If you do, we won't take them but that's alright. The press has plenty of questions.
The country's doing really well. Stock market, all-time high. This is all good stuff. I just spoke to a lot of your friends in Afghanistan and Iraq. We spoke to the USS Monterey. Great ship, great missile ship. We spoke to a lot of different folks, from the Air Force, the Army, just now, a little while ago at Mar-a-Lago. The telecommunication systems [inaudible] "We go live to Iraq, live to Afghanistan," and it's really incredible. I told them, our country is doing great. You folks are fighting so hard and working so hard. It's nice that you're working for something that's really starting to work. We've cut back so much on regulation and all the waste and the all of the abuse.
The stock market on Friday hit the all-time high. The highest it's ever been, ever. In your whole long life, the stock market is higher than it's ever been. And that means your 401(k)s and all of the things you have. You know whether it's, even if you're in the military. You have a country that's starting to turn. We want to have a strong country.
We want have a country where I can buy new Coast Guard cutters and not have to worry about it, alright. And that's what we're doing, we're building up wealth so we can take care of our protection. And we're ordering tremendous amounts of new equipment, we're at $700 billion for the military. And you know they were cutting back for years, they just kept cutting, cutting, cutting the military. And you got lean, to put it nicely — depleted was the word — and now it's changing.
The Navy, I can tell you, we're ordering ships, with the Air Force I can tell you we're ordering a lot of planes, in particular the F-35 fighter jet, which is like almost like an invisible fighter. I was asking the Air Force guys, I said, "How good is this plane?" They said, "Well, sir, you can't see it." I said, "But in a fight. You know, in a fight, like I watch on the movies. The fight, they're fighting. How good is this?" They say, "Well, it wins every time because the enemy cannot see it. Even if it's right next to them, it can't see it." I said, "That helps. That's a good thing."
But I mean we have equipment that — nobody has the equipment that we have. And it's sad when we're selling our equipment to other countries but we're not buying it ourselves. But now that's all changed. And I said, the stuff that we have is always a little bit better too. When we sell to other countries, even if they're allies you never know about an ally. An ally can turn. You're going to find that out. But I always say make ours a little bit better. Give it that extra speed, a little bit — keep a little bit — keep about 10% in the bag. We have — nobody has what with we have. That's what we're doing. We're really proud of the Coast Guard and I'm very proud — I walked in today and Jean said, the day I got elected, the following morning, they were putting up the statement that I made right on your front door, right on your glass, and I came in and the first thing I noticed, of course, I said wow, look at that. I said, did you put that up just for me because I happen to be coming here today? And you did that the first day. So that tells me something. That tells me something.
Let's go, fellas. Come on. Let's get up here. Let's get up here. Yeah. This is good stuff.
Trump then served sandwiches.
Tom Namako is the deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tom Namako at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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