From: David Boyer
Date: August 23, 2017 at 11:29:07 AM PDT
Subject: Travel pool 6 -- remarks, bill signing
President Trump at the American Legion’s 99th national convention. The audience was largely appreciative. There were a few empty seats here and there.
The president acknowledged former Defense Secretary Bob Gates in the audience, noting that Gates formerly said “bad things about me” but now says good things, “so I like him.”
“You love our country,” he told the crowd. “And you definitely defend our great American flag.”’
“Today, we are here to honor you for the sacrifices you have made to defend our nation and preserve our way of life.
“But we are also here for another reason. We are here to hold you up as an example of the strength, courage and resolve that our country will need to overcome the many challenges that we face. We are here to draw inspiration from you as we seek to renew the bonds of loyalty that bind us together as one people and one nation.”
He noted that there are veterans in the audience who have fought in every U.S. engagement dating back to WWI.
“Every veteran here today is part of a long, unbroken chain of American heroes,” he said. “You help keep history alive. History and culture, so important. You encourage the observation of patriotic holidays. You stress the need to enforce our laws, including our immigration laws. You teach the responsibilities of citizenship and the importance of the Pledge of Allegiance. You do it all, as your motto says, for God and country. That’s why we’re here today, for America and for God.”
He said the U.S. must take care of its great veterans. A year ago here, he promised to fix the broken VA.
“You see what’s been happening. Now you have a true reformer in Secretary David Shulkin. He’s done an incredible job. We are publishing wait times online for every VA facility so you know what the wait is.”
The president noted the passage of the VA Accountability legislation. If people aren’t doing the job in the VA, he said, “We look at them and say, ‘You’re fired.’ That was a hard piece of legislation to get passed.”
Also last week, he said, he signed the new GI bill to boost education benefits. Today, he’s signing the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act into law, to speed up the appeals process after benefits are denied.
“No longer will veterans be kept waiting for years to get an answer to their appeals,” he said.
He talked about his military buildup, and mentioned his intention to use the Internet more to monitor terrorist networks.
He said veterans groups are “much more proud than they were last year at this time.”
“If American Patriots could secure our Independence, carve out a home in the wilderness, and free millions from oppression around the world, that same sense of patriotism, courage, and love can help us create a better future for our people today.
He said Americans are “defined by our shared humanity.”
“Our hearts beat for America, our souls fill with pride every time we hear the national anthem. This is the spirit we need to overcome our challenges. We will win. Watch - we will win.”
“It is time to heal the wounds that have divided us, and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us. We are one people, with one home, and one flag.”
The president welcomed Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam veteran Donald E. Ballard to the stage.
"I believe we've elected the right leader to lead us out, to drain the swamp," Mr. Ballard said to cheers.
The president quipped that "that was very risky, I didn't know what was going to happen."
Mr. Trump said "We are people who love. We are people with heart. We have no division too deep for us to heal. In America, we never lose faith. We never stop striving for a better future. Together, we will not fail."
He said we will make America "greater than ever before -- I promise."
Pool was being hustled out as the bill signing was taking place on the stage.
White House correspondent
The Washington Times
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