Trump says he's thankful for making a 'tremendous difference in this country'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record MORE said Thursday that he is thankful "for having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country."

Trump made the comment when asked by reporters what he is grateful for on Thanksgiving shortly after holding a phone call with troops overseas.

“I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country,” Trump said. “This country’s so much stronger than it was when I took office and you wouldn’t believe it.”

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“I mean you see it, but [it's] so much stronger that people can’t even believe it,” Trump said. “When I see foreign leaders, they say, ‘We cannot believe the difference in strength between the United States now and the United States two years ago.'” 

The country “made a lot of progress,” he added.

The president also used his appearance to heap praise on his acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who was appointed to the role earlier this month after Trump asked former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama Senate contender hits Sessions in new ad: 'Hillary still ain't in jail' Barr back on the hot seat McCabe: 'I don't think I will ever be free of this president and his maniacal rage' MORE to resign.

"Matt WhitakerMatthew G WhitakerEx-federal prosecutor: 'Thank God' Whitaker is gone, Barr will bring 'integrity' back to DOJ GOP pollster says Dems are relitigating 2016 election with investigations of Trump Former senior FBI official calls Whitaker hearing ‘disgraceful’ MORE is a highly respected person ... you know, once I choose somebody they always go through hell ... but Matt Whitaker is a highly respected man," Trump said.

"The Justice Department respects him tremendously," he continued. "I've spoken to a lot of people and you know, the press has been nasty to Matt Whitaker, but I can tell you that he is a highly respected, strong person and he's doing a great job. Everybody tells me that. He's doing a really great job."