President Trump said Merry Christmas to military: Members of the nation’s armed forces were commended on Dec. 24, by the president for their sacrifice, allowing fellow Americans to safely celebrate the festive season.

Donald Trump thanked several people currently serving the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force for their service and “overwhelming love and gratitude for our nation.”

“Because of your brave and selfless service, Americans can celebrate Christmas in safety and in peace,” the president said in a video teleconference from his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. “We all appreciate what you do so much and we thank you very much.”

Trump recently signed the $1.4 trillion 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which he described to include the “largest defense bill ever” that includes a new fleet of military planes, ships, submarines, missiles, rockets, and equipment.

“As all of this new equipment starts pouring in, it already has started for the most part,” he said. “In the case of the Air Force a lot of it is there [and] for the Navy a lot of it is there [too.]”

The submarines are promised to be fitted with the “most lethal weapons anywhere in the world.”

“What they do and how they do is rather incredible,” the president said. “Hopefully we will never have to use them but we are going to have them very soon. We already have some … these are beyond anything that anybody has seen before, the submarines.”

The NDAA will also reverse what The Associated Press calls “unpopular and unworkable” automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs.

Trump also reminded that the military service will shortly receive a 3.1 percent pay rise and joked anyone who did not want it can return the difference to the Department of the Treasury.

“Starting January 1st you will be getting your largest pay raise in more than a decade,” he said. “You do not have to take it, everyone, you can turn it back to the government … and do not worry, I am only kidding when I say turn it back because the press will cover that and say he wants them to turn the pay raise back.”

The president said the national economy is performing better than ever with more than 7 million jobs created since the 2016 general election, and more positions available than applicants available to fill them.

The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show only 79 percent of the 7.3 million vacant positions were filled by employers at the end of October. This created a shortfall of 1.5 million jobs that were never filled.

“Our economy is the best it has ever been,” Trump said. “We are poised for tremendous success in the United States and enjoy all that new equipment we are getting you. It is all made in the United States, very important, it is made in the United States–every bit of it.”

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