President Trump, in brief remarks as he arrived at the Pentagon Thursday for a meeting to discuss military strategy, warned that a government shutdown would harm the U.S. military.
“If for any reason it shuts down, the worst thing is what happens to our military,” Trump said as he was greeted by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on the steps on the Pentagon’s River Entrance.
“We're rebuilding our military,” Trump said. “Bringing it to a level it's never been at.”
In the event Congress does not pass a temporary spending measure by midnight Friday, many non-essential government employees would be furloughed, and some government agencies and services would stop.
But the U.S. military would continue to function, although it's possible some service members would miss a paycheck and have to be reimbursed later.
The president came to the Pentagon to be briefed on the new national defense strategy that will be unveiled tomorrow morning in a speech by Mattis.
“I'm here to support our military. Our military has to be the best in the world by far,” Trump said. “And as you know, it has been depleted over the last long period of time. And when we finish, there won't be anything like it. We need that now, almost more than at any time in the past.”
The president blamed Democrats in Congress for the failure to reach agreement on a spending bill, and suggested it was a partisan political effort to undermine the positive impact of his recently-enacted tax cuts.
"Democrats would like to blunt that by shutting down government. But, again, the group that loses big would be the military and we're never letting our military lose at any point. We're going to fund our military,” Trump said. "We're going to have a military like we have never had before, because we just about — just about never needed our military more than now.”