President Donald Trump on Sunday left South Korea with a special gift for the nation’s First Golfer from some of his biggest fans.
“What do you have over there? That looks good!” Trump said while on a tour of a joint U.S.-South Korean facility near the Demilitarized Zone that separates North Korea from South Korea.
A service member stepped forward with the unit’s gift: a personalized golf jacket.
“We have a small token of appreciation in recognition of your visit here in the Republic of Korea. We’re grateful for your leadership — you and President Moon — and all that you do for the R.O.K.-U.S. alliance … Everyone knows you’re a golfer,” the service member said.
One insignia is special, the U.S. service member told the president.
“Our motto here in Korea is ‘We go together.’ We hope that when you wear this on the golf course that you’ll think about the strength and the enduring nature of this R.O.K.-U.S. alliance. Mr. President, thank you very much,” he said.
Trump also spoke Sunday to service members at Osan Air Base in South Korea. Trump apologized for running late.
“But the reason: I met with Kim Jong Un. And we had a great meeting because we’re all in this together. We want to get this thing solved. It’s been going on for a long time. And we had a great meeting. And it was unexpected. I [tweeted] yesterday: Maybe I’ll meet with Chairman Kim. And he saw it. Social media. A pretty powerful thing, social media. And we just left,” Trump said, adding that the service members at Osan were on his mind.
“And I said, ‘You know, this was unexpected and we’re going to keep a lot of thousands of great military people waiting.’ But that’s what you do; you love your country. And that was a good thing to do. Right? I said, ‘They’ll understand. They’ll understand.’ Right?” Trump said.
As troops applauded, Trump summed up his history-making day.
“I actually stepped in with Chairman Kim. I stepped into North Korea. And they say … And they say that’s a very historic moment. And I think it is a historic moment and a very good moment. And — he asked me, ‘Would you like to do that?’ And I said, ‘It would be my honor.’ And we did. And we went over the line and turned around. And everybody was so happy. And many people, I noticed, from Korea were literally in tears, crying. Crying. Because it was a big thing. It’s a big thing,” Trump said.
As Trump spoke, he made the transition from peace to politics.
“Very shortly, we will have the most ready, the best — we already have the best military in the world, but we’re going to have it at a level that we’ve never been at before. Our equipment — whether it’s the missiles or the planes or the ships or the equipment for the soldiers. It doesn’t matter. We have the best, and we have the budget to do it,” Trump said.
“And that wasn’t easy because, I will tell you — this is not a political speech, but the Democrats were not going to give it you. That I can tell you. [Laughter and applause.] They weren’t going to give it to you, folks. They weren’t going to. They want open borders and to hell with the military. That’s not good.”
Trump then noted that the U.S. is ramping up its nuclear strength.
“We’re totally revamping and improving and, in some cases, getting brand-new nuclear weapons. Never want to have to use them, but we have the best in the world — the most in the world and the best in the world. And they’re being upgraded very substantially. And, in some cases, we’re getting brand-new. Never want to use it,” he said.
Trump said that above all, America’s greatest weapons are the men and women of its armed forces.
“You’re feared by your foes, and you’re respected by all. You are so respected, and I just want you to know that. Sometimes you don’t hear that. You don’t hear it enough. You are totally respected. And, I can tell you, there’s nobody that respects the military more than your President, Donald Trump. Nobody,” he said.
Trump then looked ahead to the July Fourth celebration in Washington, D.C.
“I will celebrate Independence Day with a special ‘Salute to America’ on our National Mall. July Fourth. I hope everybody can be there. It’s going to be big. We’re making it especially big because we’re more proud of our country today than we have been in many, many, many decades,” he said.
“I want you to know that, as we pay tribute to armed forces this July Fourth, we will be thinking of you — the brave service members far from home, preserving American independence and all of that American great, great feeling of independence, and defending our great American flag.
“Americans are born free, and as long as we have brave soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines, we know that our freedom will never, ever die,” he said.
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