America's newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R Ford, was placed into commission Saturday in Norfolk, VA by President Trump. In his remarks, Trump praised the efforts and patriotism of the shipbuilders who crafted the Ford and the sailors who will eventually serve aboard it, and reminded the audience of the legacy of service and American values of its namesake.
The speech's tone echoed that of the speech Trump gave in Poland earlier this month, with a more statesman-like tone than speeches during the first few months of his administration - though he did fit a few Trump-isms in. Of the designers and builders, the President said:
As we put this stunning ship into the service of our nation, we must also pay tribute to the thousands of citizens, military and civilian, who helped design and build her. Their love of country has been poured into every rivet and bulkhead on this vessel. You hammered, chiseled, and sculpted this mighty hull.
You were there when the first steel was cut, when the turbines first roared to life, and when those beautiful bronze propellers first began to spin — and spin they did. And now you are here to witness the moment when your incredible work of art becomes the pride of the United States Navy and a symbol of American power and prestige, no matter where in the world you go.
It wouldn't be a Trump speech without a reference to the greatness of America.
American steel and American hands have constructed a 100,000-ton message to the world: American might is second to none, and we’re getting bigger, and better, and stronger every day of my administration. That I can tell you.
Wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming and America is coming strong.
Trump reminded the audience of President Gerald Ford's military service and values.
[I]t is so fitting that this ship is named after a sailor of tremendous character, integrity, and wisdom.
[A]fter Pearl Harbor, he volunteered to serve. President Ford joined the Navy and asked to be sent to sea. He wanted to do that very badly. He never really knew why; he felt it was a calling. He was assigned to a new carrier — the Monterey — becoming a plankowner himself on its commissioning in 1943.
Gerald Ford embodied American values like few others: love of family, love of freedom, and, most of all, love of country. He knew that patriotism is the heartbeat of a nation. He knew that we must love our country in order to protect it. And he knew that we must have pride in our history if we are going to have confidence in our future.
Of course, the strength of our nation isn't in its equipment, but in its warriors and patriots, as President Trump emphasized.
Having the best technology and equipment is only one part of the American military dominance. Our true strength is our people. Our greatest weapon is all of you. Our nation endures because we have citizens who love America and who are willing to fight for America.
To every patriot who will serve on this ship today and throughout history, I say this: Keep the watch, protect her, defend her, and love her. Good luck and Godspeed.
The USS Gerald R Ford is under the command of Captain Richard McCormack. It underwent sea trials earlier this year, but must still pass a series of tests, which are expected to take up to four years, before being deployed.