The president of the United States has countless responsibilities, but one of the most important is his role as commander in chief.
Every president has taken a different approach with the troops. George W. Bush took his wartime role extremely seriously and went out of his way to mingle with the men and women in uniform. Barack Obama was a bit more reserved, which was reflected in his fairly low support among military veterans.
And the 45th president? Say what you want about his job performance so far, but it’s clear that Donald Trump respects American service members.
On his way back from a summit in Vietnam, Trump made a special stop in Anchorage, Alaska, to meet with Air Force personnel stationed there.
“I wanted to stop here to share my gratitude to every brave soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman and National Guardsman who serves in the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun.’ What a beautiful term,” the president said, according to the White House transcript.
Trump’s stop at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson came after his second meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Considering the importance of Kim’s nuclear ambitions and past threats against the United States, there’s no doubt that global security was on the president’s mind — and that security is exactly what the Alaska base is focused on every day.
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is home to multiple units, including the 3rd Wing of the 11th Air Force and its lethal F-22 Raptor fighters, which will soon be supplemented by even newer F-35s. The base played a key role in the Cold War due to its proximity to Russia.
“You are a powerful warning to the world to never strike American soil,” Trump told the troops. “You are a warning that everybody knows about and nobody wants to play with.”
“To everyone here today who fights for our flag across the globe: Thank you for bravely facing down the danger to protect — and have such danger out there — the lives and liberty of all Americans,” the president said. “Our country is stronger now maybe than it’s ever been.
“Our military is being rebuilt at a rapid pace. Our economy is powerful. Our economy is probably as good as it’s ever been, or better.”
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy met with Trump aboard Air Force One as it refueled and had nothing but kind words for his fellow Republican.
“He clearly recognizes our geographic value and the strategic role Alaska serves in the defense of our nation,” Dunleavy said in a statement.
Interestingly, Trump also commented on a personal connection between his famous last name and the land of Alaska. The president explained that his grandfather Frederick Trump spent “a long time” in Alaska looking for gold.
When that didn’t pan out — literally — the elder Trump turned to running hotels for other prospectors.
“Maybe that’s why I’ve always had a very special place in my heart for Alaska,” the president said.
President Trump tells troops in Alaska his grandfather was there “looking for gold … he didn’t find it but he started opening up little hotels for those looking for gold.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 28, 2019
It would have been easy for Trump to skip this meeting with troops in Alaska, especially after a hectic and no doubt stressful summit in Vietnam. But that isn’t the president’s style.
After eight years of a lukewarm relationship between the man in the Oval Office and America’s servicemen and women, it’s refreshing to see a president who revels in connecting with our men and women in uniform.
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