The call for a bigger fleet came after the president unveiled a proposed $603-billion defense budget earlier this week - about a 3-percent increase over spending projections by President Barack Obama's administration - and sparked a debate with congressional Republicans who believe it is not enough money to rebuild depleted military forces.
"By the way, we're going to soon have more coming", he said.
"Hopefully it's power we don't have to use". "But if we do, they're in big, big trouble".
Trump championed the major spending increase as an economic boon, tying in his calls for a bigger military with his promises of boosting U.S. manufacturing. "It's a great-looking hat, just like this is a great-looking ship".
"The proud dignity of the ship is a fitting tribute to Gerald Ford - the man and the president", Trump said. If allowed, Trump said he will begin rebuilding military forces. "And America's military will ensure that even through the darkest nights, a bright and glowing sun will always shine on our nation and on our people". American planes will soar the skies.
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Trump noted that the three aircraft carriers that won the Battle of Midway - the USS Enterprise, USS Yorktown and USS Hornet - against the Japanese fleet in 1942 were built in the same shipyards that produced the Ford.
Trump's visit to Virginia was overshadowed somewhat by a developing controversy over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' meetings with Russian officials that Sessions did not disclose when asked during his confirmation hearing about possible contacts between Russians and Trump campaign surrogates.
But Trump told reporters traveling with him he has "total" confidence in Sessions and he shouldn't recuse himself. The ship which is still under construction is due to be delivered to the Navy later this year.
"If he can make that happen, it's good news for all of Newport News Shipbuilding", he said. The president has called for a 350-ship fleet that would significantly grow the current 274-ship force but would fall short of the more than 800 surface warships active at the end of World War II. "And then they gave me the attractive hat, and I said, 'You know?"
Thornberry said the debate is part of an ongoing negotiation with the White House, which is expected to release a full military budget proposal in May.