“If we don’t have a strong military, you don’t have to worry about debt, you have bigger problems,” he added.

Trump also pointed out that his predecessor, Barack Obama, incurred more debt “than any other president combined,” which isn’t quite accurate.

Obama took office with a $10.6 trillion debt, which ran to $19.9 trillion by the time his second term ended in January 2017, a $9.3 trillion difference. The debt expanded under Obama in part due to fiscal stimulus the government enacted to pull the country out of the Great Recession.

Trump on Friday continued to tout the growth theme, saying it was evident in the reduction of the national trade deficit in November, the first time that had happened after five straight months of increases.

“Everybody said, what happened? Well, what’s happening is growth,” Trump said. “But before I can focus too much on that, a very big expense is military, and we have no choice but to straighten out our military.”

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