President Trump predicted Friday that his July Fourth salute to the military, complete with tanks and a slew of flyovers, will be a boon to recruitment for the armed services.
“Based on that, we’re gonna have a lot of people joining our military,” the president announced during an exchange with reporters as he left the White House en route to his New Jersey golf resort, where he will spend the remainder of the holiday weekend.
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The president said military recruitment has been sluggish recently, a dip he blamed on the strength of the overall economy, but said he nonetheless expected an uptick following Thursday’s event. Tying recruiting to Friday’s positive jobs report, Trump said “job numbers are so good that the military has a hard time getting people” but now “a lot of people are calling in.”
That Trump opted to host a military-themed rally on July 4 had stirred criticism from some who worried that he might use the occasion to politicize the military, a step that would break with norms observed by presidents going back decades.
Trump also shared with reporters some of the behind-the-scenes technical difficulties that his military rally endured as a result of Thursday’s rainy weather in Washington.
The president said his teleprompter “went kaput” during his speech on Thursday but that he was able to finish the speech from memory. He told reporters that seeing his teleprompter go black was “not a good feeling when you are standing in front of millions and millions of people on television.”
“It was hard to look at it anyway,” Trump said of his teleprompter, apparently shrugging off the malfunction.