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Travel Pool Report 5
David Jackson • USA Today
March 2, 2017: 03:10 PM

A tour of the Gerald R. Ford

Combining report on public remarks with previous info from the president's tour of the aircraft carrier.

President Trump touted his defense budget hike and told crew members on the aircraft carrier Gerald Ford that he would provide them all the equipment they may need to win any military engagement.


- The US will provide "the resources you need to keep us safe ... the finest equipment in the world."

- "This ship will make an extraordinary addition to the fleet ... it represents the future of naval aviation."

- "I will always support you and your mission"

- Paraphrase: We hopefully won't have to use our military, but if we do the enemy will be in "big, big trouble."

- He pledged to back "the 12-carrier Navy we need."

Trump began his remarks at 2:25 pm

.. ended at 2:42 pm


Before his remarks, President Trump took a tour of the pre-commissioned aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford.

Technically, the carrier is not yet the "USS Gerald R. Ford," because it has not yet been commissioned. The carrier is still considered a "PCU" -- Pre-Commissioning Unit.

Still, sailors and officials wore caps emblazoned with the term "USS Gerald R. Ford" -- including Trump himself during the tour. The president also wore a free jacket adorned with the ship's logo.

At 1:10 p.m., pool was led into a small and cramped "CO's import cabin," where President Trump was speaking with the carrier's commanding officers.

President Trump sat in a chair that President Ford himself used when he was in the White House.

It was hard to hear, but one of Trump's questions was when the Gerald Ford would be fully ready.

"When will it be completely finished?" Trump asked.

He was told there would be "builder's sea trials" next month

Trump also asked what was the best aircraft, and specifically mentioned the "Super Hornet" at one point.

He was told that carriers require a variety of air craft.

Pool was ushered out at 1:12 p.m.

We then went down further into the interior of the carrier, to the section with the "advanced arresting gear" -- the contraptions that capture and stop the speeding planes after they land on the deck of the carrier.

"How often do you miss?" Trump asked at one point.

Answer: "Very rarely." (Missed planes simply circle back around for another landing.)

An officer said the landing success rate is 96%.

"That's fantastic," Trump replied.

Trump also toured the Combat Direction Center, a road loaded with video screens.

This is where he answered questions about Jeff Sessions. See earlier reports.

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