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  President Trump Speech to U.S. Troops in Iraq  CSPAN  December 27, 2018 7:32pm-8:02pm EST

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jersey's 3rd district. he served on the national security council staff during the obama administration. he had previously been a civilian adviser to generals david petraeus and john allen in afghanistan. polish-born tom molinowski was elected to new jersey's 7th district. he's also a veteran of the obama administration having served as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor through most of the second term. new congress, new leaders. watch it all on c-span. >> president trump and the first lady made an unannounced visit to iraq on wednesday to greet u.s. troops stationed there. during the three-and-a-half hour visit, the president met with military leaders and defended his decision to withdraw u.s. military the forces from syria in a speech to service members. this was the president's first trip to a combat zone since being elected.
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♪ and i gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today -- ♪ 'cuz there ain't no doubt i love this land -- ♪ god bless the usa. [cheers and applause] >> usa! usa! usa! usa! usa! >> well, first of all, at ease. at ease, let's have a good time. let's have a good time. and we had an incredible meeting that lasted for about an hour, and you have no idea what we've come up with. you're going to be so happy. you're going to be so happy. i want to just, first, say thank you for everything, and on behalf of melania and myself, we
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had a great flight in, so i want to thank you, honey. come -- say hello, honey. say hello. [cheers and applause] >> i'm very honored to be here tonight. i thank you for your service, for your sacrifice and keeping us safe and free. i'm very proud of you, and on behalf of our nation, i'm wishing you a merry christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. thank you again and to your families. [cheers and applause] >> let's let her make the speech, right? no, she's great. very popular first lady and a great person. and i want to thank general he camera for the job he's done.
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we had a meeting with him and some of your great representatives, and we have some ideas that are more than ideas that are going to be just -- we like to win. do we like to win? we're going to win. [cheers and applause] i want to thank everyone at al assad air base. special people. we came in, we were -- we felt very safe coming in. it was a pretty difficult journey in certain ways, but we felt very, very good, very safe. and also we knew exactly where we were going, and we're going to say hello to you and to wish you all a merry christmas and a happy new year. very important. thank you very much. great job. so melania and i are thrilled to be here with the extraordinary men and women of the american armed forces, the greatest military. and especially as we get all of this billions and billions of dollars of new equipment that i approved over the last two
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years. you're getting such new equipment, your eyes are popping, right? your eyes are popping. [cheers and applause] you're getting the best equipment in the world. as you know, it was being very rapidly depleted, and it wasn't good, and we weren't going to let that happen to you or to our country. and i just want you to relax. let's have a good time for a few minutes, and then i'll be heading to another location, and then i'll be heading back. but i have you totally in mind, totally in mind. we came to al assad to share our eternal gratitude for everything you do to keep america safe, strong and free. though you are thousands of miles away from your home and your loved ones, i hope you all had a merry christmas. i also know that, speaking for your families, they are missing you, and they love you. and, you know, they're every bit a part of your success. they make it possible.
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so they're very special to us, all of the families. it's because of your sacrifice that america's families can celebrate in safety and in peace, and we're doing great back at home. there are many incredible patriots to recognize here right now, and i'd like to start by -- say a few words by colonel michael maddox. colonel -- [cheers and applause] thank you much. no games. i can see -- i know people. no games with the colonel. no games with your general, right? not a lot of games. it's called they want to win. i want to thank the 201st regional support group. [cheers and applause] one that everybody knows of even back in the states.
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task force thunder and their lieutenant colonel ken park. [cheers and applause] there's a reason for that name, thunder, isn't there? the 443rd air expeditionary squadron and their great commander major dicey ritz. where's dicey? [cheers and applause] thank you. great, fell rahs. great. -- fellas. great. the 1st expeditionary rescue group and their commander, colonel michael gouchard. [cheers and applause] where's michael? thank you. thank you, fellas. the 3rd cavalry regiment and their commander, colonel jonathan byrum. [cheers and applause] brigadier general austin renforth. where's austin? austin? thank you, austin. [applause] thanks, austin.
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everyone at the special operations joint task force. thank you. where the hell are they? [cheers and applause] and all personnel who reside at camp havoc. you know what that means, camp havoc. also joining us this evening is the u.s. ambassador to iraq douglas silliman. douglas, thank you very much. great job, douglas. great job. [applause] the courageous men and women at al asad air base are on the leading edge of our fight to vanquish america's terrorist enemies. you know that. the other reason i'm here today is to personally thank you and every service member throughout this region for the near elimination of the isis territorial cally nate --
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caliphate in iraq and in syria. two years ago when i became president, they were a very dominant group. they were very dominant. today they're not so dominant anymore. [cheers and applause] great job. i looked at a map, and two years ago it was a lot of red all over that map, but now you have a couple little spots, and that's happening very quickly. that's happening very quickly. you'll be seeing that. i want to just say great job, and we'll be watching isis very closely. we'll be watching them very, very closely, the remnants of isis. no enemy on earth can match the awesome strength of american soldiers, sailors or airmen and marines. nobody's even close. and nobody is even close in terms of our equipment. we make the greatest equipment
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in the world. whether it's missiles or ships or anything you want to name, we have the greatest in the world. the jet fighters, the new f-35, the super f-18s. we have the greatest fighter jets in the world. we make the greatest equipment in the world. but you strike fear into the hearts of our enemies and bring comfort to all of our allies and those who cherish peace. and we want peace. and the best way to have peace is strength. when we're strong, we're going to have peace. if we're not strong, you know what happens. so we're stronger than ever and very soon when it all comes in, when that equipment keeps flowing, it's being made -- much of it -- now, there'll be nobody ever in history that's even close. american and coalition forces have had one military victory after another over the last two years against isis including the
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retaking of both mosul in iraq and raqqa in syria. we've liberated more than 20,000 square miles of territory. think of what that is, 20,000. 20,000 acres is a lot, think of what 20,000 square miles is. it's a lot. this was all formerly held by isis and liberated more than three million civilians from isis' blood thirsty control. the men and women stationed atal asad -- at al asad have played a vital role in the military defeat of isis in iraq and syria. because of these gains, our service members in syria can now return home to their families. some will come here for a stay. but a lot of them are going to be going back home where they
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want to be with their families. they've done a fantastic job. originally years ago they came here, and it was supposed to be for three to four months, and that was a long time ago. that was many years ago. but what a job you have done, what a job they have done. i made it clear from the beginning that our mission in syria was to strip isis of its military strongholds. we're not nation-building. rebuilding syria will require a political solution. and it's a solution that should be paid for by its very rich neighboring countries. not the united states. let them pay for it. and they will. finish they -- they will. in fact, saudi arabia yesterday, you probably realize, stepped up to the plate and has already made a commitment of substantial funds for development. and president erdogan of turkey
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has also agreed to take out any remnants of isis. and we'll be working with them. we're going to be working with them. our presence in syria was not open-ended, and it was never intended to be permanent. eight years ago we went there for three months, and we never left. but now we're doing it right. and we're going to finish it off. one year ago i gave our generals six more months in syria. said, go ahead, get 'em. and it turns out it was really a year and a half ago. i said go get 'em. we need six months, go get 'em. and they said give us another six months. i said, go get 'em. then they said go, can we have one more, like, third of six months? i said, nope. nope. i said, i gave you a lot of six months, and now we're doing it a
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different way. and we're doing it, and you're doing it, folks, you're doing it. just the remnants. the men and women who serve are entitled to clear objectives and the confidence that when those objectives are met, they can come home and be with their families. our objective in syria was always to retake the territory controlled by isis. some people said we've already retaken 99%. that's a number that comes up a lot. and if you look at the map before and after, it looks like 99%. now that we have done so, the nations of the region must step up and take more responsibility for their future. and also they have to confront those remnants of isis and take 'em out very easily if, after we're totally finished, they're even left at all. there will be a strong, distribute and orderly withdrawal of u.s. forces from
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syria. very deliberate, very orderly. while maintaining the u.s. presence in iraq to prevent an isis resurgence and to protect u.s. interests and also to always watch very closely over any potential reformation of isis and also to watch over iran. finish we'll be watching. while american might can defeat terrorist armies on the battlefield, each nation of the world must decide for itself what kind of future it wants to build for etc. people. for its people, and what kind of sacrifices they're willing to make for their children. america shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. if they want us to do the
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fighting, they also have to pay a price. and sometimes that's also a monetary price. so we're not the suckers of the world. we're no longer the suckers, folks. and people aren't looking at us as suckers. and i love you folks, because most of you are nodding your head this way. we're respected again as a nation. we're respected again. america is safer and peace is more possible because of the incredible courage and devotion of every patriot here tonight. some people say, well, maybe somebody comes from the area and they hit us on our homeland. if that happens, they will suffer consequences over here like nobody if has ever suffered before. [cheers and applause] let me just tell you, and i hope they hear that loud and clear.
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and that's not a threat, that's going to be a fact if anything should happen at all. nobody will ever have suffered the consequences that they will suffer. just remember i said it. we will honor -- you're welcome. you're welcome. we will honor your service by doing everything in our power to stop terrorists from entering america's shores. and that includes strengthening of our borders. i don't know if you folks are aware of what's happening. we want to have strong borders in the united states. the democrats don't want to let us have strong borders. only for one reason. you know why? because i want with it. [laughter] [cheers and applause] if i said, you know, i think just standing here looking at all these brilliant young faces, these warriors -- you're warriors. you know, you're modern-day warriors, but you gave me an idea just looking at this warrior group. i think i'll say i don't want the wall, and then they're going
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to give it to me. i figureed out the solution, first lady. tell nancy pelosi i don't want the wall. oh, we want the wall. and we'd get the wall. [laughter] [applause] that's another way of doing it. that's another way of doing it. no, we have to have it. and, you know, not only human trafficking, trucks, illegals -- drugs, illegals, a lot of criminals, bad records. we've seen murderers come in through the -- you saw what happened with the caravan as we call it. caravan of thousands of people. and, by the way, our border patrol did an incredible job, and our military did an incredible job, and local law enforcement on the various parts of the border did an incredible job. and those caravans are slowly breaking up, and they're going back where they came from, and they have to come into our country legalliful legally.
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and that's what you fighting for. -- you're fighting for. you know, when you think about it, you're fighting for borders in other countries. and they don't want to fight, the democrats, for the border of our country. doesn't make a lot of sense. at this sacred time of the year, our thoughts turn to the american heroes who gave a their last breath in defense of our country including the seven brave souls who perished last march on the jolly 51 rescue helicopter. you know exactly who we're talking about. some of you were great friends of theirs. through their incredible sacrifice, our fallen heroes have achieved immortality. that's what it is, it's immortality. immortality. they will live forever in the hearts of their countrymen, in
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your hearts and in the history of the united states of america. they will live forever. the dignity and glory of the american warrior is recorded on the fields of battle and in acts of valor that will live for all of time. you're going to be remembered for all of time. and under my administration, we're winning now. we're not playing to lose slowly like they've been doing for 19 years. we're fighting in areas where we shouldn't be fighting and spending hundreds of billions of dollars doing it. no, you have the right thought process now going for the first teem in a long time. [laughter] first time in a long time. [laughter] thank you. [applause] we want to fight where it's
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meaningful, which is basically what you're just saying. and you understand that better than anybody. the people in this room understand that better. your general understands. i just met with them. your general understands it. we want to fight for the meaningful things. no force in history has done more for the cause of justice and peace. i want each and every one of you to know that we will always protect those who protect us. you protect us. we are always going to protect you. and you just saw that, because you just got one of the biggest pay raises you've ever received. unless you don't want it. does anybody here -- [cheers and applause] is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got? raise your hand, please. oh, don't see too many hands. okay. don't give it up. it's great. you know what? nobody deserves it more.
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you haven't gotten one in more than ten years. more than ten years, and we got you a big one. i got you a big one. i got you -- ms. there were plenty of people who said, you know, we could make it smaller. we could make it 3%, 2%, 4%, i said, no, make it 10%, make it more than 10%. because it's been a long time. it's been more than ten years. that's a long time. and, you know, you really put yourselves out there and you put your lives out there. so congratulations. we're fighting every day to insure you have also the tools, the equipment, the training and resources that you need to fight and to win. we don't play prevent defense anymore. i always have things in mind.
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i always have lots of things in mind, things that you have in mind too but a lot of other people don't. a lot of the media doesn't want to report it correctly are. but we have of things in mind. but do you ever see like in football where a team is holding the other team scoreless, they can't throw, they can't pass, they can't do anything. now it's three and a half quarters, they gotta just hold 'em, and they say let's change to prevent defense. and that's what happens. and you know what it does? it prevents them from winning. how many times have you seen that? we don't like prevent defense. we want real offense and we want real defense, and that's what we're doing. we have secured a record increase to our military budget, and we are purchasing all of this great equipment.
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700 billion last year, $716 billion, with a b, with a b. and we were fought very hard by the democrats and others. but i said we have to take care of our military. i mean, i want to see costs come down too, but not when it comes to our military. you have to have the finest equipment anywhere in the world, and you have that. 716 billion. and this year again we're going to be -- don't tell anybody, because nobody else knows -- even a little bit higher. but we have no choice. we can't play cheap with our warriors, our military. we can't pray cheap with -- we can't play cheap with victory, and we're not going to. we understand the best way to preserve the peace is to be prepared for combat, and the surest way to conflict is to be
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totally up yielding -- unyielding and totally ready for conflict if that should happen. america a -- america is a peace-loving nation, but rest assured, if we are forced to fight, we will engage the enemy in overwhelming force like never before, like nobody's ever seen before. [cheers and applause] there is no military more capable and now more lethal, more fearless and more skilled than the united states armed forces, nobody is even close. our faith and confidence in you is absolute and total. you are the sentinels who watch over our nation. you are the warriors who defend our freedom. you are the patriots who insure
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the flame of liberty burns forever bright. that's who you are. that's who you are. to everyone at al asad air base and every american serving overseas, may god bless you, may god protect you, and may god always keep
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. >> we will never let you down. remember that. god bless america. thank you very much. [cheers and applause]
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. >> black lives matter cofounder talks about her life, activism and how the black lives matter movement began. she. >>host: your book is beautiful and powerful and heart wrenching and makes you want to cry and it is like a caged bird that sings and a monster and something else that is so impactful. >> think it really means a lot to me are there certain books that