-- Sporting a bomber jacket as he addressed U.S. troops at Yokota Air Base just after landing in Japan, President Donald Trump touted the might of the U.S. military as he began his tour of Asia at a time of heightened tensions with North Korea.
“We dominate the sky. We dominate the sea. We dominate the land and space,” the president said. “Not merely because we have the best equipment, which we do, and by the way, a lot of it's coming in. You saw that budget. That's a lot different than in the past. A lot of beautiful brand new equipment is coming in. And nobody makes it like they make it in the United States. Nobody.”
While the president did not directly address North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, the president's choice to address troops in his very first action in the region set the tone of his trip as he seeks to send a clear message to the North Korean regime to back down from its nuclear ambitions.
“No one, no dictator, no regime, and no nation should underestimate ever American resolve,” the president said, standing on a stage in an airplane hangar on the base. “Every once in a while in the past they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them. Was it? It was not pleasant. We will never yield. Never waiver, and never falter in defense of our people, our freedom and our great American flag.”
The setting for the speech at Yokota Air Base, which has served as a center of coordination for the U.S. and Japanese militaries for decades, also amplified the president's message as he made clear that the U.S. stands in locked step with Japan in the region.
"Today this base serves as a critical center for coordination, for American and Japanese commanders to plan their missions," the president said. "For almost 60 years the military alliance, we see on this base, has endured a corner stone of sovereignty, security and prosperity for our nations. This region, and, indeed, the entire world. Today we pay tribute to that legacy."
The president reiterated his unwavering commitment to fully equipping the military to carry out its mission.
“As long as I am president, the servicemen and women who defend our nation will have the equipment, the resources, and the funding they need to secure our homeland, to respond to our enemies quickly and decisively, and when necessary, to fight, to overpower, and to always, always, always win,” he went on to say.
Upon taking the stage in an airplane hangar, the president was presented with a bomber jacket, which he then put on in place of his suit jacket as he offered his direct thanks to the U.S. and Japanese service members in the region.
“There is no single place I'd rather begin my trip than right here with all of you, the incredible men and women of the United States military and your amazing partners, the Japanese self-defense forces,” Trump said. “To everyone here today who serves your country in uniform, thank you, thank you, thank you. We salute you.”
“Each of you embodies the warrior creed. Your devotion, prowess and expertise make you the most fierce and fighting force in the history of our world,” the president told the troops.