'Peace Through Strength': Trump Vows Military Spending Boost | NBC New York
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

'Peace Through Strength': Trump Vows Military Spending Boost

Clinton and Trump will be featured at a "commander in chief" forum on NBC Wednesday but will appear at separate times and will not face each other on stage

Republican nominee Donald Trump made his way to Philadelphia and plans on using his time in the City of Brotherly Love wisely. NBC10's Lauren Mayk has the details. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016)

Republican Donald Trump said Wednesday that his foreign policy would aim to achieve "peace through strength" and focus on "diplomacy, not destruction."

Speaking to the Union League of Philadelphia, Trump unveiled a plan to boost military spending by tens of billions of dollars and promised major increases in the number of active troops, Navy ships and submarines, and fighter planes as he works to convince skeptics in both parties that he's ready to lead the world's most powerful military.

"Today, I am here to talk about three crucial words that should be at the center of our foreign policy: peace through strength," Trump said. "We want to achieve a more stable, peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground."

The New York businessman, who has struggled at times to demonstrate a command of foreign policy, also seemed to acknowledge he does not currently have a plan to address cyber security or the Islamic State group. 

If elected, Trump said he would give military leaders 30 days to formulate a plan to defeat the group, commonly known as ISIS. And he would ask the joint chiefs of staff to conduct a review of the nation's cyber defenses to determine all vulnerabilities. 

Trump's address came hours before his national security acumen is set to be tested at a "commander in chief" forum on NBC. 

"We want to defer, avoid and prevent conflict through our unquestioned military strength," Trump declared of his Democratic opponent during his speech to the Union League of Philadelphia, which first allowed women in 1986. 

The appearances mark an intense, two-day focus on national security by Trump, who has offered tough rhetoric on America's challenges abroad but few details. 

Michelle Obama: When They Go Low We Go High By Voting

[NATL] Michelle Obama: When They Go Low We Go High By Voting
Presidential elections are decided on a “razor’s edge,” Michelle Obama told a crowd at a campaign event in North Carolina where she spoke after Hillary Clinton on Oct. 27. The first lady got a loud round of applause when she pointed out what previous generations sacrificed for the right to vote, and encouraged everyone to exercise that right.

“Casting our vote is the ultimate way we go high when they go low,” Obama said, “Voting is our high.” (Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016)

The United States currently spends more than $600 billion a year on the military, more than the next seven countries combined. 

Trump's rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has tried to paint the billionaire businessman as erratic, making the case that his disposition would be a major liability on the world stage. 

"They know they can count on me to be the kind of commander in chief who will protect our country and our troops, and they know they cannot count on Donald Trump," Clinton said Tuesday. "They view him as a danger and a risk." 

Trump's team has worked aggressively in recent days to turn deflect such criticism back at Clinton. 

Trump Mixes Business With Politics at DC Hotel Ceremony

[NATL]Trump Mixes Business With Politics at DC Hotel Opening Ceremony
As Hillary Clinton traverses battleground states across the country in the final stretch of the presidential election, Donald Trump took a detour from the campaign trail for the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday of his Washington, D.C. hotel — but his remarks made clear the race to the White House was not far from mind. Trump claims the hotel is a symbol of what he'll do for America, noting it was completed "under budget and on schedule". (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

"She's trigger-happy and very unstable," Trump said of Clinton, calling her use of a private email server while secretary of state "reckless." 

While Clinton and Trump will be featured at the Wednesday night forum, they will appear at separate times and will not face each other on stage. The forum could serve as a warm-up to their highly anticipated first presidential debate, scheduled for Sept. 26 in New York. 

Trump will deliver another speech Wednesday evening, at the convention of New York's Conservative Party. 

Trump's Union League address also included his plans to eliminate deep spending cuts, known as the "sequester," enacted when Congress failed to reach a budget compromise in 2011. Republicans and Democrats voted for the automatic, across-the board cuts that affected both military and domestic programs. 

Crowd Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Clinton in Florida

[NATL] Crowd Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Clinton in Florida
At an event in Coconut Creek, Florida, Hillary Clinton said that Trump is "attacking everything that has set our country apart for 240 years," pointing to his refusal at the final debate to commit to conceding the race if he loses. As she tried to make this point, the crowd erupted into singing her "Happy Birthday." Clinton turns 69 on Oct. 26. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

Trump has given mixed signals about whether he wants to increase military spending overall. 

While Trump has often complained that U.S. forces are not large enough or well-equipped, he's also said that he'd save money by cutting waste and ensuring that contractors aren't getting sweetheart deals because of their connections or lobbying efforts. 

His position on the sequester has been even more murky. Trump expressed support for the cuts in interviews in 2013 — even describing them as too small — but seemed to suggest at the time that military spending should be exempt, undermining the sequester premise. 

A senior adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share details ahead of the speech, said Trump would ensure the additional spending is fully paid for. The adviser did not explain how, but suggested there would be no need for structural budget cuts to pay for the billions of additional military spending over 10 years. 

'Late Night’: Trump's Obamacare Fail

[NATL] 'Late Night’: A Closer Look at Donald Trump's Obamacare Fail
With the Obama administration announcing that premiums for health care would go up next year, Donald Trump had a substantial critique in his grasp. But, host Seth Meyers says, the Trump campaign missed the opportunity for a substantial critique, opting to instead make strange appeals to black voters. (Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016)

Trump called for the savings to come from "common sense reforms that eliminate government waste and budget gimmicks, and that protect hard-earned benefits for Americans." 

He called for recovery from unpaid taxes and reducing the size of the government bureaucracy through attrition. He also called for trimming military bureaucracy. 

And Trump said all NATO countries should "pay their bills." 

He said he would ask allies Germany, Japan and South Korea to "pay more for the tremendous security that we provide them."

Warren to Trump 'Nasty Women' Vote

[NATL] Warren to Trump 'Nasty Women' Vote
Hillary Clinton is joined by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Oct. 24, 2016. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016)

Even before promising a huge boost in military spending, Trump's plans to cut taxes, expand infrastructure spending and leave untouched entitlement programs such as Social Security already threatened to add trillions of dollars to the federal deficit. 

Trying to emphasize his military support, Trump's campaign released a letter on Tuesday from 88 retired generals and admirals citing an urgent need for a "course correction" in America's national security policy. It was aimed at rebutting Clinton's arguments that she would be best positioned to lead the military and reassuring Republicans who have openly worried that his provocative statements might undermine U.S. alliances. 

But questions remain, even in his party. 

Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, repeatedly refused to say directly whether he had confidence in Trump as commander in chief when questioned on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday. 

'Late Night’: Presidential Debate

[NATL] 'Late Night’: Presidential Debate Between Clinton & Trump
Host Seth Meyers presides over another “Late Night” presidential debate. Splicing and slicing clips between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Meyers presents the audience with a jousting of word between the two candidates. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

"I do believe that Donald Trump is growing in his understanding of these issues and I think that he's beginning to get more and more people around him that have a depth of understanding as to the complexities and I'm watching this evolve," he said. He added that, "we'll all make our assessments," in the candidates' foreign affairs abilities by early November.