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tv   President Trump Remarks at AMVETS Convention in Louisville KY  CSPAN  August 22, 2019 6:15am-7:00am EDT

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families together. i said that. president obama and others brought the families apart, but i am the one that kept the families together. with what we are doing now, even more of that, but i will make it almost impossible for people to come into our country illegally. we are building large sections of the wall. i won the lawsuit in the supreme court. we are building large sections of wall. >> [indiscernible] >> following those remarks, president trump spoke at the american veterans national convention in louisville kentucky. he discussed the investment his administration has made into modernizing the military. the president also signed an executive memorandum for giving the student loan debt of approximately 25,000 permanently disabled veterans.
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>> mx headquarters has worked closely with the current administration to develop better accountability, better transparency, or access to high-quality health care, and to protect the benefits our veterans have earned. the white house and not amvets continue working together to improve the lives of our veterans and their veterans. -- and their families. we are grateful our keynote
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speaker has traveled from washington, d.c. to tell us about his efforts and continue helping us tackle the veteran suicide epidemic. ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor and privilege to welcome to the 75th national convention here in louisville kentucky, the 45th president of the united states of the american cash of america. the command -- of united states of america. the commander-in-chief, donald j. trump. [cheers and applause] pres. trump: well, thank you very much. that's a great honor. great people.
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thank you. sit down, please. thank you. and i want to thank commander riley. truly thrilled to be here with thousands of america's proudest and toughest and most extraordinary patriots, the incredible veterans of amvets. we love our veterans. amvets. thank you very much. you are special people. you fought courageously for our country, and now my administration is fighting courageously for you. that is for sure. and you know we have accomplished a lot, we have done a lot, and one of the things we have done is you get that medical care quickly now when you go into those doctors, and you used to have to wait for weeks and weeks and weeks, and you do not wait anymore. you go out and see a private doctor, we pay the bill, and people are really happy about it. the vets are very happy about
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it. veteran's choice, you have been trying to get that for 44 years, they say, 44 years. probably earlier than that, but at least 44 years that we know of, and you got it, so congratulations. hopefully you do not have to use it too often, because you are going to feel great, ok? every veteran here today across our land, thank you for your noble and incredible service. it is an honor really, of my life. i understand i am the first commander-in-chief, first president to address you and be here. [cheers and applause] pres. trump: that is something that is very special. and it is also an honor to be the commander-in-chief of the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, the united states military, and it is stronger today, and it is a lot
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stronger today than it was two and a half years ago, i can tell you that. a lot stronger. a lot stronger. $700 billion we spent, and then $716 billion, that is with a b, and this year, it is $738 billion. so we rebuilt the military, and it is stronger than ever before, and that was really needed. it was depleted, and was tired, it was exhausted, and you know that better than i do. we have totally rebuilt it. i want to thank your outstanding national commander as well as your terrific executive director, joe chenelly. where is joe? joe, thank you. where is joe? thank you, joe. that is not a very good seat for you, joe. you want to give other people the better seats. i like that type of person. thank you, joe.
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it is my privilege to recognize your first national commander, the highest ranking woman in and that history, retired air force senior master sergeant jan brown. [cheers and applause] pres. trump: thank you, jan. congratulations as well to this year's recipient of the silver helmet award, especially a dear friend who was an inspiration to all americans, world war ii veteran, and medal of honor recipient woody williams. thank you, woody. you are looking good, woody. woody is looking good. [cheers and applause] pres. trump: that was a big day, the medal of honor. nothing like the medal of honor. i wanted one, but they said you do not qualify. can i give it to myself anyway? they said, i don't think that is
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a good idea. [laughter] trump: great people. great men and women who get the congressional medal of honor. thank you, woody. we are unbelievably thankful to of the men and women of amvets and ladies auxiliary. they have worked so hard, the sons of amvets, junior amvets, and the legendary amvets riders who are fighting to keep alive the spirit of rolling thunder. i love rolling thunder. wow. we are taking care of rolling thunder since i have been there. please stand up. you have so many great people. thank you. and the leaders are all here. thank you. and we will see you in a little while in washington. and to honor the prisoners of war and those missing in action,
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today we renew our vow that america will never, ever forget. [applause] pres. trump: thank you. it is great to be joined by a number of champions for america's veterans, including secretary of education betsy devos. betsy? betsy, doing a great job. deputy v.a. secretary james byrne. james, thank you. great job. a man who has really done a great job, i do not know if the -- if he is appreciated. sometimes it does not work out that way. he has done an incredible job. your-- if he state is doing phel business. i went to take all of the credit, but i cannot because he has done a lot. he has been a truly great governor, matt bevin. thank you, matt.
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kentucky has had record numbers , it is the best year they have ever had in just about any category. it is a really incredible thing. and a man that i just watched on television, he is so good. you can do television for me anytime you want. congressman thomas massie, where is thomas? good job. thomas, say hello to our friends back in washington. that was a good job. i just watched you. i cannot come to kentucky without also praising the exceptional work of senator mitch mcconnell. [applause] pres. trump: i have to tell you, this guy is a true fighter for our veterans and for kentucky. he has worked tirelessly to enact massive tax cuts, record defense spending, and the crucial v.a. reform i was just talking about. and i have to think about all the things with respect to mitch, mitch is a good person,
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but his leadership in the senate, we confirmed, think of it, almost 150 federal judges to hold our nation's beloved constitution and the foundation of american freedom, and mitch and i have worked very hard. we're up to 150. within two months, we will be at 179 federal judges and two supreme court judges. [applause] pres. trump: and it is your senator, and for him, that is a passion like i have never seen before. there is nothing more important. when i became president, they said the most important thing you can do is judges, and they said supreme court justices, and as you know, we have named two supreme court justices, justice kavanagh, justice gorsuch. i want to congratulate mitch mcconnell, and you have him, and he is a champion, and he fights
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hard. he really is something special, and he loves your state. i will be campaigning for mitch, and i will be campaigning for matt, and we are going to get them both back in. i just have to say, because mitch has been somebody very special, and matt knows that as well. this year, we commemorated the 75th anniversary of d-day, june 6, 1944, when thousands of american patriots stormed the beaches of normandy and went through the fires of hell to ensure the survival of liberty. this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the organization that took care of those victorious veterans when they returned and every generation of veterans since. incredible job. amvets forelebrate 75 years of love and loyalty and lifelong service to our military personnel, to our veterans, and to their families. congratulations. thank you very much.
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[applause] pres. trump: thank you. amvets posts across the nation have become pillars of pride in our community. and shining symbols of the enduring power of the american spirit. your support of our troops overseas welcomes them when they come back home, and you welcome them, and you are there for them in every way, medically, physically, morally, you are with them all the way. the appreciate it much more than you would even now. you safeguard our values, pass on our traditions, and teach generation after generation to love our country, honor our heroes, and always respect our great american flag. [applause] pres. trump: we gather today at a truly incredible time for our nation. we are reawakening american pride, american competence, and
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american greatness. we are america first. [applause] pres. trump: it is about time, too. it is about time, wouldn't you say? we hear america first? you did not used to hear that too much, right? you did not used to hear it at all. you hear it a lot now. i hope you do not get sick of it. i do not think you will. not this group. not too many people in this country will feel that way. we are respected again as a nation. we are respected again. we are restoring the fundamental principles that government -- the first obligation, the highest loyalty is to our citizens. loyalty to our citizens really is the first obligation. no longer will we sacrifice america's interest to any foreign power. in all things, we are putting our country first. we are saying, let's say "make america great again," but we are
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almost there, "make america great again." we may have to switch it. you know what we're going to switch it to? huh? yeah? that is right. i will not say it to you, because this is not a campaign speech. [laughter] [cheers and applause] pres. trump: i will not say "keep america great," but we are going to keep america great. [cheers and applause] pres. trump: we are going to keep america great. there is a lot of press back there. look at all of them. that's a lot of cameras going. look at all the red lights down there. the red light means you are on. when the lights are off, people get a little sleepy back here. [laughter] pres. trump: nowhere is this allegiance more essential than fulfilling a duty to the
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american warrior and the american veterans. we are holding our nation's solemn pledge to protect those who protect us, and they have protected us brilliantly. with america's core interests, guiding us as we do, we are making unprecedented strides. our american warriors pulverized the bloodthirsty killers of isis. we defeated 100% of the caliphate in syria. we are holding thousands of isis fighters right now, prisoners, and we are going to give them to from where they came, europe, certain countries in europe, they have got to take them back, because we do not want to hold them. we are going to give them back. they have got to take them. they let us hold them for 50 years. we don't want them. we don't want them. they should take them. do we agree? they should take them? [applause]
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pres. trump: they say to us, "why don't you hold them in guantanamo bay for 50 years?" and we spent billions of dollars holding them. we had been captured, thousands, isis. now europe has to take them and different countries where they came from have to take them. do we agree with that? [applause] pres. trump: i am just curious as to what you thought. we withdrew from the horrible iran nuclear deal, horrible deal. [applause] pres. trump: we brought home the remains of our fallen north korean war heroes. we brought them home, so many of them. many more are coming. so they can rest alongside their brothers and sisters in american soil. we believe in our sacred responsibility to ensure no one is left behind, right? [applause] pres. trump: we are rebuilding
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the awesome might of the united states military with these big budgets, like i just described, and think of it -- thank you, thank you very much, i appreciate it -- and we are very proud of it. we are very proud of it. those in the military are proud, too. beautiful, new, the best equipment in the world, we make the best planes, we make the best missiles, the best ships, we make the best everything. and it also, in this case, secondarily, it also happens to be made in the usa, every inch of it, and it is called jobs, jobs, jobs. that is secondary, but -- [applause] pres. trump: and the army will very soon have 300 powerful new m-1 abrams tanks. [applause] pres. trump: the navy is deploying the most advanced class of aircraft carriers in history, with hundreds of new
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f-35's and f-18's, american airmen will continue to own the skies wherever we fly. we have the greatest air force in the world. [applause] pres. trump: and we are preparing to dominate the newest war-fighting domain by extending -- establishing a sixth branch of the armed forces, it is called the space force. we need that. the space force. [applause] pres. trump: it is moving along through approval, and it has become very popular. people see it now more than they did two and a half years ago. they see it now, and know how important it is for defense and offense and everything. we delivered the largest pay raise for every sailor, airman, coast guardsman, and marine, one of the largest increases. [applause] pres. trump: our active-duty personnel are the best equipped, best trained, most technologically advanced fighting force in the history of
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the world. the best equipment in the world, the best training in the world. america is a peace-loving nation. we seek friendship, we seek harmony, not conflict and division, but if we are threatened, we will never hesitate to defend our people, as they should be defended. [cheers and applause] pres. trump: and if our enemies should dare to fight us, they will be crushed with overwhelming american might, no adversary stands a chance against the awesome power of the red, white, and blue. there is no military even close to ours. you read all sorts of things, "well, maybe this country, maybe that" -- it is only propaganda put out by different areas in different countries. there is nothing else close, and they all know it, and they tell me that. they tell me that. there is nobody close. and we have to keep it that way. and we don't want to use it, but
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we have to have it just in case, right? [applause] pres. trump: the members of our armed forces, and you understand that very well, the members of our armed forces have always lived by the word of douglas macarthur, "in war, there is no substitute for victory." we have an armed forces that is unparalleled, and to achieve victory, there is no substitute for the unmatched character and courage of those who probably -- probably -- probably -- proudly wear the nation's uniform. and we even have different uniforms. did you see some of the different designs of the uniforms? we are going back to a style and a look that nobody thought we would go back to, because of expense, and now we have brand-new, the most beautiful uniforms you have ever seen. but much more importantly, are the people who wear that uniform, what is inside that
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uniform, that is much more important. much more important. [applause] pres. trump: the best in the world. every warrior who serves has poured out their hearts and souls for america. we believe their government must show them the same devotion, and return, and we have been doing that. at least for the last two and a half years, we have. can you believe it is almost three years now? i have been saying "two and a half years now" for a number of months, and we are getting close to three. i will have to change it to three very soon. after years of neglect, we are fixing the heartbreaking failures from the last administration at the department of veterans affairs. america must never abandon our heroes in their hour of need. we will never do that. for that reason, i proudly signed into law the v.a. accountability act. [applause] pres. trump: big deal.
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another one, they would not do it, for years, they could not get it done, 50 years, and i will not blame unions, i won't blame civil servants, i will not blame any of it, but, man, was their power against it. it was top. -- it was tough. and we got it done.and we got i. people mistreat people in the v.a., and we know what happens, right? it is called "you are fired." stand up, please. stand up. [laughter] pres. trump: there is a man that implements it. you are fired. get out of here. get out of here. you could not fire anyone for virtually any reason. they could do anything. so we have the accountability act, and we have removed more than 7,600 bad employees who failed to give our vets the care they so richly deserve. 7,600. think about it.
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they so richly deserve. 7,600. think about it. they were treating some of them -- most of them are fantastic, but some of them were treating our people, our brave heroes so badly, sadistic, terrible people. they were terrible people, and they are gone. they are fired. 7,600. i did not know you are that vicious to get rid of so many. [laughter] pres. trump: and everyone deserves to be out. that was a big deal. that was a hard one to get. [applause] pres. trump: and as i said, something i guess i am most proud of because, i don't know, accountability was very important. some people think it was as important, maybe not, but most significantly, the v.a. reforms, we did the veterans' choice. i do not know which was more difficult. they were pretty much equal. but since i took office, nearly three million veterans have been able to choose a private doctor in their own community. and have you ever seen -- and this is a great tribute to the
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people at the v.a., the people and the leadership of the v.a. i don't hear these horror stories. i used to see, growing up, i would see "v.a., v.a., v.a." i don't know -- [laughter] pres. trump: i am not hearing bad stories, i am hearing all good stories, but the fake news, they will go find somebody in the system. [laughter] [applause] pres. trump: they will find somebody. they will find somebody in this giant medical system, the largest system in the world, by far. they are going to find somebody that was not treated perfectly, and he will be on the top of the news tonight. "we have breaking news." [laughter] pres. trump: we have also slashed wait times at the v.a. by more than 33%. that is a great thing. [applause] pres. trump: and the care is
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better. more importantly, the care is even better. a recent study published in the journal of american medical association found that wait times are now shorter for primary care at the v.a. than at private sector doctors and hospitals. how about that? [applause] pres. trump: good job. say hello to our friend. tell him he is doing a great job. he has done some job. what a job all of you have done. to improve the efficiency of the v.a., i signed the veterans appeals improvement and modernization act. do you know what that is? so far this fiscal year the v.a. has pressed 1.2 million claims for compensation so far this fiscal and increased the number of appeals decisions by 70% compared to two years ago when i started doing this. that is a big number. [applause] pres. trump: we are modernizing your medical records to begin a seamless transition from the department of defense into the v.a.
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something they said they couldn't do. they said, we can't do it. it's too complicated. we did it. the v.a. has also cut opioid prescriptions by 30% over the last 2.5 years. [applause] pres. trump: and we are committed to defeating the opioid epidemic in america. and i have instructed all of our people to give so many grants to lots of geniuses all over the country. i said, find a painkiller that is nonaddictive. get a painkiller that when you break your arm and go to the hospital, you don't come out of the hospital addicted to opioids. get a painkiller that is nonaddictive. and we are closer than you think. right? we are closer than you think. [applause] pres. trump: our veterans are seeing dramatic improvements in the quality of care across the board. patients' trust increased at 92%
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of v.a. medical centers. 92% increase. we will not rest until we reach 100%. we will get there. [applause] pres. trump: probably there already. probably there already. no issue facing our veterans is more urgent than ending the national crisis of veteran suicide. [applause] pres. trump: my administration is determined to do everything in our power to save the lives of our heroes. if you think about what's going on, we have a new drug that came out. johnson & johnson. i know you are dealing very strongly with them. they should make a contribution to the united states of america. they have something that really
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takes that horrible anxiety, whatever causes somebody to be so desperate to commit suicide. you take it. it's an inhaler. and you take it. its results are incredible. i don't know, long-term. it really has an incredible effect on a lot of people. and i've instructed the top officials to go out and get as much of it as you can from johnson & johnson. and i think -- they have done so well. they have made so much money. i think they should give it to us for free. [applause] pres. trump: give it a shot. give it a shot. it's incredible, actually. it does something pretty amazing. it's due. it's been approved. it has been fully approved. it has gone through a long process. it has been fully approved.
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we think that is going to have a great impact. we have secured a record $8.6 billion for mental health services. [applause] pres. trump: it's a record. we opened the white house v.a. hotline to ensure no claim ever again falls through the cracks. a lot of claims were having a lot of problems, going on for years. we work it out. the v.a. is now providing same-day emergency mental health care and mental health screenings to every patient that walks through the door. it's incredible. the difference between now and three years ago. two in the tragedy of veterans end the tragedy of veteran suicide, it will require government and society at all levels working together. we have to work together with a lot of different groups and people. a lot of progress is being made. things are happening. we must strive to build communities that serve, support, and protect our veterans from the very first moment they return to civilian life. it's an incredible adjustment.
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that's exactly what we aim to achieve with the prevents initiative. you know what it is? it's a task force created earlier this year to unify the efforts of government, business, and nonprofit groups. we want to build on proven strategies like the amvets heal, you know what it is. you told me what it is. it's an amazing partnership with the v.a. that has served over 600 families in crisis in the last year without a single life lost to suicide. not one. [applause] pres. trump: to every veteran who is facing the struggle, i want you to know that you are not alone. we are with you. you are not forgotten. we are with you all the way. you are not beaten. you will overcome. you will prevail. you will triumph. and you will thrive.
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you will thrive. a lot of progress has been made. so many different things, we're making progress in. millions of americans are right by your side. and we are with you every single step of the way. one of those americans is someone that you know very well. jim pidgeon, a navy veteran and former national commander of amvets. where's jim? [applause] pres. trump: come on up here, jim. for the past 1,257 consecutive days, jim has challenged americans to join him in doing 22 push-ups. don't challenge me. [laughter] pres. trump: don't make me do that. representing the number of veterans whose lives -- that's the number of suicides per day. can you believe it? i heard that number and i said, this can't be possible. you would think a year.
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a month. a day. nobody believes it. thousands of patriots have joined him in raising awareness. together, they are summoning the national will to act. i want to thank jim. jim, say a few words. please. [applause] jim: thank you. mr. president, it's an honor to be here. i would not be able to do this without the support and love and prayers of my beautiful wife, paulette. [applause] pres. trump: he's got strong arms. [laughter] pres. trump: it's like a piece of steel. [laughter] pres. trump: thank you, jim. no one deserves the blessings of freedom more than the heroes who risk their lives to defend it. for this reason, my administration has worked aggressively to boost veteran
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employment, and we are setting records. since my election, we have reduced the number of unemployed veterans by 37%. that's pretty good. [applause] pres. trump: veteran unemployment has reached the lowest level ever recorded. [applause] pres. trump: same thing with african-american unemployment. same thing with asian unemployment. same thing with hispanic unemployment. same thing with many other groups. it has been amazing. to every employer in america, if you are looking for a worker of unrivaled skill, integrity, and devotion, all you have to do is hire a veteran. that is what is happening and they are doing it. [applause] pres. trump: i have a friend who has been doing it lately. he said, "why didn't i do this 25 years ago?"
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i said, "that's your problem." [laughter] pres. trump: he's very happy. every service member has the right to return to civilian life with dignity and security. that is what is happening. principle,his core we have helped 30,000 veterans find permanent housing over the last two years. 30,000. [applause] pres. trump: we have also expanded the g.i. bill so that veterans can use their benefits to get an education at any point in their lifetime. a crucial reform to expand opportunity to veterans in every stage of their career. that's a big thing. [applause] pres. trump: and today, i'm proud to announce that i am taking executive action to ensure that our wounded warriors are not saddled with mountains of student debt. in a few moments, i will sign a memorandum directing the department of education to eliminate every penny of federal student loan debt owed by american veterans who are completely and permanently
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disabled. [applause] [cheers and applause] pres. trump: incredible. nobody can complain about that. nobody can complain about that. the debt of these disabled veterans will be entirely erased. it will be gone. [cheers and applause] pres. trump: they will sleep well tonight. altogether, this action will wipe out an average of $30,000 in debt owed by more than 25,000 eligible veterans who have made immense sacrifices. the ultimate sacrifice in many ways. for our nation.
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they have made a sacrifice that is so great and are such incredible people. incredible people. and they never complain. they never complain. that's hundreds of millions of dollars in student debt held by our severely wounded warriors. it is gone forever. [applause] pres. trump: i want to thank secretary devos for her leadership in making veteran debt forgiveness a top priority for the department of education. betsy, thank you very much. stand up. stand up. [applause] pres. trump: and there will be no federal income tax on the forgiven debt. that is really big stuff. [applause] pres. trump: it's all past. it's all past. all we have to do is sign it -- which we will do it that beautiful desk. ok? [applause] pres. trump: today, i'm also calling upon all 50 states to
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immediately waive all applicable state taxes, as well. they will hopefully be going away very quickly. most of the states have are -- already agreed to do this. joining us today is one of the many american heroes who will benefit from this action. catherine castle, she served in three different branches of the armed forces. the army, the navy, and the air force. you will have to tell me which is the best, please. i want to know which is the best. [laughter] pres. trump: which is the best? don't say it. she may say it now and i'll be in big trouble. please say a few words -- say a few words. catherine: thank you. this is an amazing relief on my family. as well as many thousands of veterans, as well. thank you. [applause] pres. trump: thank you very much.
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after two tours in iraq, catherine developed serious health conditions related to her service. including significant lung problems. this fight these obstacles, she is now -- despite these obstacles, she is now pursuing a degree at the university of nevada. we are really profoundly grateful for your service and your immense sacrifice. you have been incredible. it's great to have gotten to know you. everybody in this room is very proud of you. thank you very much. [applause] thank you, catherine. veterans like catherine who have made such enormous sacrifices for our country should not be asked to pay anymore. rather, it is america who owes our heroes a supreme debt of gratitude. that's the way we feel. [applause] pres. trump: across oceans, jungles, mountains, deserts, battlefields, enemy camps, our veterans fought and bled to
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vanquish our enemies and preserve america's birthright of freedom. our country, liberty, families, homes, everything that matters and everyone we hold dear. they are sacred to us and secured by the grace of god and the immortal courage of those who serve. the story of the american veteran -- i call them the american warrior -- that's what they are. they are great warriors. it's the story of the american nation. you have written our history, shaped our identity, forged our destiny, marched us to glory. and always planted the righteous flag of american victory. [applause] pres. trump: you have filled our enemies with dread. you have filled our friends with hope. and you have filled our american heart with fierce patriotic
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pride. because of you, america is safe. because of you, america is strong. because of you, america is free. because of you, america will forever remain the bravest, mightiest, and greatest nation on the face of the earth. thank you. [applause] pres. trump: thank you. because of you. you. because of you. i would now like to ask amvets leaders to come forward. secretary devos, please come forward. deputy secretary bern. governor bevin. sergeant catherine castle. sergeant nick steffenick. join me on stage as i signed a presidential memorandum facilitating the cancellation of student loan debt for 25,000 of our most severely disabled
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veterans. [applause] [cheers and applause] pres. trump: with today's order, we express the everlasting love and loyalty of a truly grateful nation. god bless our veterans. and god bless america. they give very much. thank you. [cheers and applause] pres. trump: should i do it? crowd: yeah! pres. trump: come on around.
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[cheers and applause] pres. trump: thank you very much, everybody. [cheers and applause]
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♪ >> ♪ you can't always get what you want ♪ you can't always get what you want ♪ you can't always get what you want ♪ you can't always get what you want ♪ you can't always get what you want and if you try sometime ♪u find you get what you need ♪ >> coming up live on thursday,
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on c-span at 1:30 p.m. eastern, a news conference on combating illegal robo calls with a group of state attorneys general. at 2:45 p.m., a discussion about children's online privacy concerns and 4:30 p.m., president trump possess the presidential medal of freedom to former boston celtic bob c ousey. c-span2, the joint women's leadership symposium addressing issues faced by military women who served. later, the symposium continues with a discussion on women in leadership positions in the military. coming up this morning on --shington journal" movies the u.s. economic outlook and concerns of a recession. , seniora.m., brad close vice president of the nati


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