President Trump told members of the U.S. military gathered at the White House for the Fourth of July Tuesday that he "will always have your back," as he boasted that the country is doing "really, really well."
The president addressed individual members of each of the service branches who had gathered outside in early evening for his first Independence Day address before the annual fireworks celebration on the National Mall.
"Each of you here today represents that rare combination of patriotism, virtue and courage that our citizens have always, and I mean always, admired and that our enemies have always feared," Trump said. "I pledge my unwavering support for you, your families and your missions. I will always have your back."
The brief speech included no direct mention of North Korea's apparently successful test Monday night of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could put the rogue regime within reach of hitting the United States. It also seeks to develop a nuclear warhead capable of decimating U.S. cities.
Russia and China issued a joint statement and challenge to Trump Tuesday, calling on North Korea to halt its missile program but also for the U.S. to remove a mission shield from South Korea and stop large-scale joint military operations.
The president, after touting low gasoline prices in an earlier tweet, said the country is on strong footing.
"And I want to just tell you that our country is doing really, really well no matter where you look. The economy is blazing and on every front we are doing well," Trump said. "And we do have challenges but we will handle those challenges, believe me."
The president is set for his first meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin on Friday, when the North Korean missile program likely will be a topic as well as the war in Syria and the fate of U.S. compounds seized from Moscow over its meddling in the 2016 presidential election.