- Associated Press - Friday, September 15, 2017

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AP) - President Donald Trump honored the resolve of the nation’s Air Force on Friday, warning foes and international terrorist groups that the U.S. military would respond to any threats.

“America and our allies will never be intimidated. We will defend our people, our nations and our civilization from all who dare to threaten our way of life,” Trump told military personnel at Joint Base Andrews, marking the 70th anniversary of the Air Force.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump met with military families and watched an air show demonstration at the base that serves as the home of Air Force One, the presidential plane. Marveling at the capabilities of the Air Force, Trump made a reference to one of the more enduring films about America’s military - even though it involved the Navy.

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“I just met a lot of these folks,” Trump said, referring to the airmen and women standing behind him. “They’re better looking than Tom Cruise and we know they can fight better and we know they can fly better,” he said, referring to Cruise’s 1986 film “Top Gun.”

Speaking in a hangar that housed a B-2 stealth bomber, an F-35 and an F-22 fighter jet, Trump outlined his efforts to bolster military spending and reiterated his call for repealing the “defense sequester,” or across-the-board budget cuts instituted by Congress.

The president said he was “honored to join you on this really, really historic occasion, the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force. The greatest air force on the face of this Earth. By far.”

Earlier, Melania Trump tried her hand at paper airplanes during a visit with students at an afterschool program at the Joint Base Andrews Youth Center.

The Trumps visited the base ahead of a trip to the president’s New Jersey golf club for the weekend and next week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York.


Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman and Ken Thomas contributed to this report.

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