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Trump rebuts Obama on security at ‘thank you’ rally

President-elect Donald Trump trumpeted his pick for Defense secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis, as he sought to flex his national security muscle hours after President Obama took aim at his successor in a high-profile speech.  

{mosads}The real-estate mogul turned president-elect blasted the foreign policy status quo Tuesday night as he cheered the American military and called for better days to come. 

“We don’t want countries taking advantage of us anymore, we don’t want that. We want to be the smart people, we don’t want to be what we’ve been over the last long period of time,” Trump said during a “thank you” rally in Fayetteville, N.C.
 
“To accomplish our goals, we must reject the failed approaches of the past, we must move past the tired, conventional thinking of Washington, D.C.”
 
Trump never mentioned Obama by name, just as Obama didn’t mention the president-elect during his Tuesday afternoon speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, home to U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command.
 
But Obama made several implicit critiques of Trump, including defending the ban on torture and warning against framing the fight against terrorism as a battle against Islam.
  
During Trump’s address, he repeated previous calls to lift defense spending caps, provide soldiers with the necessary equipment and healthcare and for a robust military as an international deterrent. 
 
He tipped his cap on multiple occasions to soldiers serving across the world, including those stationed at nearby Fort Bragg. And noting Wednesday’s 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Trump drew parallels to the current war against terrorism. 
 
“Our brave men and women are the first in line, defense, against radical Islamic terrorism, words some people don’t like to say. An ideology of death that slaughters innocent men, women and children,” he said. 
 
“In every generation, a new threat to freedom arises. Just as we defeated these threats … so too will we defeat the forces of terrorism.”
 
Tuesday’s rally also served as the official debut of Mattis as Trump’s choice for Defense secretary — Trump announced his pick unexpectedly at a rally last week. 
 
“Under his leadership, we will rebuild our military alliances, destroy terrorists, face our enemies head on and make America safe again,” Trump said before Mattis took the stage for brief remarks. 
 
Both Trump and Mattis repeatedly referred to the secretary of Defense as the “civilian leader” of the Defense Department, a reference to the looming battle Mattis faces in Congress over whether he’ll be allowed to serve in the post.
 
A long-standing law prohibits someone who has been retired from active service for fewer less than seven years from filling the top Defense post. Mattis, who retired in 2013, would need Congress to issue a waiver to bypass that rule.
 
House Republicans raised the issue in their short-term spending bill released Tuesday evening, which would speed up the Senate’s consideration of Mattis’s waiver.  
 
After Mattis told the crowd he looked forward to serving given his confirmation, Trump took back the stage as the crowd chanted “Mad Dog,” a nickname for Mattis.
 
“He’ll get that waiver,” Trump said. “Oh if he didn’t get that waiver, there would be a lot of angry people.” 
Tags Donald Trump

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