11:52 A.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Mr. President, Secretary Esper, members of the Cabinet, members of Congress and of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and most especially to all those who wear the uniform of the United States and their families and the civilians who support you:
It’s a special honor to be here with all of you at the Pentagon — the symbol of American power — and to join all of you for the full honors ceremony of the 27th Secretary of Defense, Secretary Mark T. Esper. (Applause.)
As the men and women who serve here at the Pentagon know well, since day one of this administration, President Trump has taken decisive action to make the strongest military in the history of the world stronger still.
After years of budget cuts, President Trump fought for and secured the largest increase in our national defense in more than a generation, including the largest military pay raise in over 10 years. (Applause.)
At the President’s direction, we produced a National Security Strategy that puts America first, pursued the modernization of our nuclear arsenal. As the Secretary just said, our NATO Allies are contributing more to our common defense than ever before. And with the strong support of leaders in Congress, we’re well on our way to establishing that sixth branch of our armed forces: the United States Space Force.
And today, Congress will vote on a budget deal, thanks to the President’s leadership, that preserves the historic investments we’ve made in our national defense, it provides for our veterans, and also ends the defense sequester once and for all. (Applause.)
Mr. Secretary, because of this President’s efforts, you will inherit a military better equipped, better trained, and better prepared than any military in the history of the world. And the President and I have every confidence that you will lead the Department of Defense with the same dedication and integrity that marked your 21-year military career.
Mr. Secretary, your reputation for leadership and your patriotism no doubt accounts for the 90 votes that you received in the United States Senate and confirms the confidence that the President is placing in you today. So, Mr. Secretary, thank you for answering the call to serve our country once again. (Applause.)
President Donald Trump has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people. And today, by providing renewed leadership to the Department of Defense, our Commander-in-Chief is taking one more critical step to provide for the common defense of the American people and our way of life.
So now it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce your Commander-in-Chief and the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)